For those who have never visited the Napa Valley; the world’s most sought destination for wine’s lovers, there’s always a chance to explore America’s largest wine community in Chateau Montelena. Known for manufacturing the victorious white wine in the crucial 1976 Judgment of Paris, Chateau Montelena has rightfully received the honor being included in the National Register of Historic Places. Furthermore, the triumphant bottle of 1973 Chardonnay is also a part of the enduring collection at the Smithsonian.
However, this is not all about the American champion and here are seven more things everyone should know about it.
All The Ropes to Create The Winery
While the Napa Valley is renowned for its vivid landscapes and splendid winery building, there is little comparison with Chateau Montelena’s 1880’s stone chateau. This magnificence is, however, not easily bought and has required a great deal of rope money. The founder and entrepreneur Alfred Tubbs had sold rope to gold miners and sailors, to own the fortune needed to buy the acres in Calistoga back in 1882. The rope business, also known as the Tubbs Cordage Company, continued its operation in San Fransisco till 1962.
Inspired By French, Built in California
The motivation to commence a wine business dates back to the time when Tubbs had a taste of French wine while he was on a tour after his retirement. The inspiration was put to reality after After returned to California, brought the Napa Valley land and hired a French winemaker to supervise the business which was now called as A.L. Tubbs Winery. And it is for this reason that it wouldn’t be wrong to say the winery played a pivotal character in establishing a relationship between French and American winemaking.
The Inspiration Behind The Name
The name Montelena, is neither inspired from romantic tale nor from any family tradition. It was thought of by Tubb’s grandson Chapin who had simply shortened the name of the nearby mountain; Mount St.Helena. It was Chapin who had coined the name for the winery again in 1940.
The Lush Grounds Retained By Retirees
In the years that followed the ban imposed over winery, the manufacturing of wine was put to a halt for nearly twenty years. It was in 1958, when Yort and Jeanie Frank; two retirees brought the property and supervised the mesmerizing landscape including the Jade Lake. However, the Franks did not make wine.
It’s Never Too Late
Winemaking resumed at Montelena when in 1968, new owners set foot and appointed Mike Grgich as the winemaker. Together, they replanted the vineyards, renovated the outdated equipment and it was in 1972 that the place started producing wine again.
Second Chance to The Rescue
The efforts of Grgich and his team did not go wasted as the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay owned the honor to be the second modern vintage at the winery. However, this achievement is not as heard as the story of the impact of the 1976 Judgement of Paris had on Napa Valley.
The CEO Who Cleaned The Barrels
The success of winery lies in the efforts of every single person involved in it including the CEO Bo Barrets, who’s link with Chateau Montelena dates back to nearly five decades. Barret has been a part of every vintage since 1972 and has been involved in every major to minor task including weeding, pruning and even cleaning the barrels. All this to simply promote the wine all over the world.
It is More Than Just White Wine
The highlight of Chateau Montelena has always been there exquisite wine. While back in the days it was Chardonnay that had first stole the show for the place, it is now Cabernet Sauvignon which has now followed the footsteps to creates its own legacy just like it has done in Napa Valley.