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Friday, March 15, 2013

Jim Barrett

Credit for Napa Valley's (and California's) success with premium wine over the past few decades is often given to Robert Mondavi. And he was instrumental in the success. His was more of a long term plan to make Napa a center for wine.

Another man is perhaps more important in putting Napa Valley on the map and it was by chance with probably not a lot of thought going into it.

Napa lost another icon and pioneer last night as Jim Barrett, the founder of Chateau Montelena Winery, passed away at 86 years old.
A bottle of the '76 winning wine
This one auctioned off for charity
by Chateau Montelena for $11,000
Image from

It was his Chardonnay in what's become known as the Judgement in Paris in 1976 that shocked the French by beating them at their own game. All of a sudden Americans knew about Napa Valley and started looking for Napa wines. And the wine boom started.

Article from the Napa Valley Register