Had it not been for the overambitious visions of just a few individuals, Napa Valley might have never become one of the most important wine regions in the world. When Napa Valley was only just getting started, America’s passion for Bordeaux wines was feverishly high, so much so that even the first lady at the time, Jackie O., was known to sip Château Haut-Brion Blanc in the White House. Napa’s vintners no doubt observed Bordeaux’s success and looked to the region for inspiration.
- It wasn’t until the 1970s and 1980s that Napa Valley showed the world they meant business with Cabernet Sauvignon.
- In 1976, a private wine competition in Paris judged by several top French trades compared current releases of Bordeaux and Napa wines (often thought to be inferior to their European counterparts).
- Later dubbed as the “Judgement of Paris,” the tasting results showed that American Cabernet wines could stand toe-to-toe with the most important Bordeaux wines of the time.
“You have to remember, that back then, most California wines were sold in jugs (or worse, tanks!) and aged in large redwood vats–a very different scene than the production process that takes place today.”