Grgich Hills Estate

Napa Valley, California, United States

Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, a name that resonates with greatness in the world of winemaking, rose to international fame during the historic “Paris Tasting” of 1976. This blind tasting, featuring distinguished French judges, forever changed the perception of California wines and solidified Mike’s position as one of the world’s most accomplished winemakers. The 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, crafted by Mike Grgich himself, stunned the judges, who declared it the finest white wine in the world, sparking a revolution in the industry.

Inspired by this groundbreaking recognition, Mike joined forces with Austin Hills and Mary Lee Strebl, descendants of the renowned Hills Bros. Coffee family, and together they gave birth to Grgich Hills Cellar on Independence Day 1977. This partnership proved ideal, with Austin’s premium vineyards in Rutherford, at the heart of Napa Valley, and Mike’s unwavering commitment to producing wines of unparalleled quality.

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Grgich Hills Cellar quickly gained acclaim for its signature wine, the exquisite and richly complex Chardonnay that continues to captivate wine lovers worldwide. The success of their Chardonnay paved the way for the winery’s future triumphs, setting the stage for a remarkable journey of excellence.

The label design of Grgich Hills went through an intriguing evolution. Initially featuring a rearing horse holding a baton, symbolizing the Hills’ family crest, a friendly debate led to the realization that grapes, not horses, make wine. Thus, the current label design emerged, prominently showcasing a cluster of grapes, emphasizing the winery’s devotion to its craft.

Grgich Hills’ wines have graced the tables of distinguished figures. In 1981, the 1979 Chardonnay was served at a White House dinner for King Juan Carlos of Spain, while in 1983, Queen Elizabeth II enjoyed the 1978 Grgich Hills Chardonnay at the home of Stanford University President Donald Kennedy.

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Over the years, Grgich Hills has achieved several significant milestones. In 2000, they expanded their vineyards by planting Cabernet Sauvignon around the winery. By 2006, all their vineyards became certified organic, solidifying their commitment to environmentally friendly practices. The year 2005 marked a turning point as Grgich Hills acquired enough vineyard acreage to source entirely from their own estates, prompting the addition of “Estate” to their name in 2007.

In 2013, the Legacy tier was introduced, showcasing their rarest and most highly acclaimed wines, including the Paris Tasting “Commemorative” Chardonnay. This special tier pays homage to Mike Grgich’s achievements and features a label inspired by a woodcut image of Mike himself and a traditional Croatian gold braid design, a nod to his homeland.

Continuing their dedication to showcasing the unique microclimates and terroir of the Napa Valley, Grgich Hills introduced the Miljenko’s Selection in 2014. This range comprises single-vineyard wines, each expressing the distinctive characteristics of their origin. Exclusive to the winery and its wine club members, these wines exemplify the artistry and diversity of the region.

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In 2019, Mike Grgich, at 94 years old, passed the title of president to his daughter, Violet, ensuring the family’s legacy and expertise live on. Mike remains an active presence in the winery, offering his guidance as an advisor and winemaker emeritus.

Demonstrating their commitment to sustainable practices, Grgich Hills achieved the Regenerative Organic Alliance certification for their organic farming in 2023, further solidifying their role as pioneers in environmentally conscious winemaking.

The story of Grgich Hills Estate is one of passion, determination, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. From the triumph of the Paris Tasting to the vineyards thriving under organic farming, Grgich Hills continues to produce wines that embody the true spirit of the Napa Valley, captivating wine enthusiasts around the world.

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Video: Regenerative and Organic Farming

Grgich Hills' Wines

  • Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

    Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Grgich Hills Estate Grown Chardonnay

    Chardonnay

  • Grgich Hills Estate Grown Merlot

    Merlot

  • Grgich Hills Estate Grown Dry Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc

  • Grgich Hills Estate Zinfandel

    Zinfandel

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