Grgich Hills Estates

40th anniversary of the Judgment of Paris

About

Our guiding philosophy is quite simple great wines always begin with exceptional fruit. All of our vineyards are certified organic. Committed to natural winegrowing and sustainability, we farm five estate vineyards without artificial pesticides or herbicides.

Location Description

Located in the heart of Napa Valley, California.

Features

  • Grgich Hills Estate is an iconic Napa Valley wine estate, consistently producing wines of the highest quality.

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
  • Caves:
  • Wedding Facilities:
  • Picnic Facilities:
  • Dog Friendly:
  • Winery Tours:
  • Wine Tasting:
  • Art or Architecture:
  • Organic / Biodynamic:
  • Awards:
  • Wine Club:
  • Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:

History

Miljenko “Mike” Grgich first gained international recognition at the celebrated “Paris Tasting” of 1976. Then, in a now-historic blind tasting, a panel of eminent French judges swirled, sniffed, and sipped an array of the fabled white Burgundies of France and a small sampling of upstart Chardonnays from the Napa Valley. When their scores were tallied, the French judges were shocked: they had chosen the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, crafted by Mike Grgich, as the finest white wine in the world. Mon Dieu! The results stunned the international wine establishment and immediately earned Mike a reputation as one of the greatest winemakers in the world.

The Paris Tasting served notice to the world that the California wine industry was on the move, and it laid the groundwork for the creation of Grgich Hills Cellar. After his victory in Paris, Mike sat down with Austin Hills and his sister, Mary Lee Strebl, from the Hills Bros. Coffee family, and on Independence Day 1977, they gave birth to Grgich Hills. It was an ideal partnership. Austin owned premium vineyards in Rutherford, in the heart of the Napa Valley, and with his extensive background in business, he put the winery on its financial feet. Mike, with his fierce commitment to making wines of the highest quality, began producing what immediately became our signature wine: the exquisite, richly complex Chardonnays that win awards and delight wine lovers across America and throughout the world.

Today, we remain committed to making distinctive wines with quality, consistency and longevity. We are proud that world leaders such as Presidents Reagan and Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterrand chose our wines to serve at state dinners, but we are just as proud that every single day discriminating wine drinkers count on Grgich Hills to turn their own dinners into special occasions.

We treat each of our six different wines as a special child, carefully nurturing their development and character. Our pride and joy is our Chardonnay, an elegant example of the varietal displaying rich flavors and exquisite balance. As a complement to the Chardonnay, we also produce a refreshingly crisp Fumé Blanc, a rich and spicy Zinfandel, a Cabernet Sauvignon with tremendous depth and complexity, a lush and richly fragrant Merlot, and a luscious dessert wine named “Violetta,” in honor of Mike’s daughter, Violet.

Now 91 years old and still sporting his signature blue beret, Mike was inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame in 2008 in honor of his many contributions to the wine industry. While many other Napa wineries pursue strategies of expansion, Mike, along with his daughter, Violet, and his nephew, Ivo Jeramaz, prefer to stay small. Their aim, year after year, is to improve the quality of their vineyards and their wines, relying on Mike’s unique artistic and intuitive touch. This strategy continues to pay significant dividends.

Committed to natural winegrowing and sustainability, we farm our five estate vineyards without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, rely on wild yeast fermentation and use our passion and the art of winemaking to handcraft food-friendly, balanced and elegant wines. In keeping with our goal of sustainability, the winery switched to solar power in 2006. As Mike often says, “From our vineyard to your glass, naturally!”

Beginning with the 2003 vintage, all Grgich Hills wines were labeled “Estate Grown.” This guarantees a consistently superior level of quality and it means that Grgich Hills will always remain a shining symbol of prestige and good taste. In recognition of that important milestone, the winery changed its name in 2007 to Grgich Hills Estate.

The Team

Miljenko “Mike” Grgich - President and Vintner’s Hall of Fame inductee

An inductee to the Vintner Hall of Fame, Miljenko “Mike” Grgich is a legend in the Napa Valley. Over the past 50 years, Mike’s wines, crafted in the classic Old World tradition, have won a stream of California and international prizes, establishing Grgich Hills Estate as one of the premier wineries in the U.S. and the world. Passionate and relentless in his quest for quality, Mike has also helped pioneer a number of significant breakthroughs in California winemaking techniques, including the use of cold sterilization and malolactic fermentation and the use of oak barrels for proper aging.

Mike’s most celebrated achievement came in 1976 when a Chardonnay he crafted for Chateau Montelena beat the very best wines in France in a now famous blind tasting in Paris. This event that stunned the wine world catapulted the Napa Valley into the front ranks of the leading wine-producing regions of the world. “For years, everybody in the world believed that only French soils could produce great wines,” Mike explains. “We shattered that myth. That was probably the most significant result of the Paris tasting. Our victory pumped new energy into the California wine industry, particularly in the Napa Valley, and it energized winemakers in many other parts of the word, such as Argentina and Chile. They realized that if we could do it, so could they.” Read More

Vice President of Operations & Sales:

Violet’s passion for wine began at an early age, as she literally grew up accompanying her father in the vineyards and cellar. She spent her summers at the winery, doing everything from bottling line work to laboratory analysis and working in the tasting room.

Attending the University of California, Davis, Violet earned a BA in music while taking classes in biology, chemistry, and enology. After graduation, she returned home to Grgich Hills to continue her education in the wine business, learning about daily operations of the winery from Mike. She received her Master of Music in harpsichord at Indiana University, and then joined the winery fulltime in 1988. She’s now responsible for daily management of the winery, as well as sales and marketing. She says that she has the ideal job: “I believe that wine is part of a healthy, happy and long life. Wine brings people together and makes them happy, which makes my job extraordinarily fulfilling.” Read More

Austin E. Hills:

Austin Hills received his A.B. degree from Stanford University and his M.B.A. from Columbia University. He began working at Hills Bros. Coffee, Inc. as an assistant coffee buyer, then as Assistant Market Research Director, Acting Secretary, Secretary, Vice President, and finally as Chairman of the Board. Austin was a director of the firm from 1960 until 1976 and served as a member of the Finance Committee, the Marketing Policy Committee, and the Executive Committee. Read More

Ivo Jeramaz - Vice President of Vineyards & Production:

Ivo was born in Croatia to a family of grape growers and as boy he assisted in making wine for his family’s enjoyment. However, he didn’t plan on becoming a winemaker. Ivo earned a master’s of science degree in engineering from the University of Zagreb and dreamed of coming to California to work as an engineer.

In 1986, with the help of his uncle, Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, Ivo followed his dream and came to Napa Valley. He quickly fell in love with the scenic beauty of the area and became fascinated with wine making. Ivo decided on a career change and Mike immediately put him to work washing barrels. During his almost-three decades at Grgich Hills Ivo has worked his way up in responsibility, learning the classic style and art of winemaking from his uncle, supported by the tools of science and technology. “There’s nothing in the winery or vineyard that I haven’t done, not just for one day, but really worked at it,” he explains. Read More

Practices & Techniques

Solar Power:

Taking advantage of the same clean energy that grows its grapes, Grgich Hills Estate on September 14, 2006, flipped the switch to solar power with 860 photovoltaic panels, covering 13,000 square feet of the winery’s red tile roof. At peak production, the solar panels installed by SPG Solar generate 142 kilowatts and will provide almost 100 percent of the winery’s electrical needs while generating an estimated $70,000 in savings each year.

“We installed some test panels in December 2005 that generated 30 kilo watts,” explains Ivo Jeramaz, Vice President of Vineyards and Production, “and even though it was winter, we were so pleased with the results and the potential savings that we started planning on creating all of our energy.” Jeramaz says it was an easy sell to winery co-founder Mike Grgich, who is also his uncle. “As soon as I told Mike there was a way to generate our own electricity and not depend on PG&E, he was all for it. Not only does it virtually eliminate our electricity bill, this conversion to a renewable and pollutant-free energy source follows our philosophy of environmental sustainability.”

Grgich Hills has been organically farming its vineyards since 2000. Committed to natural winegrowing and sustainability, we farm our five estate vineyards without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, rely on wild yeast fermentation and use our passion and art to handcraft food-friendly, balanced and elegant wines.

The winery is on a “net” meter, which keeps track of how much the solar panels contributed to the power grid and the winery receives a statement each month reflecting the balance. On sunny days and low usage, the winery will export power to the grid, spinning the meter back. On cloudy days or high usage, the winery uses that credit to import electricity. At the end of the year the winery will balance the books with the power company. Calculations show the winery will have almost no electricity bill. The panels have a 30-year life expectancy and Jeramaz anticipates the solar panels to pay for themselves in five years or sooner, if rates continue to rise. The project cost a little more than $1 million, which is offset by a rebate of $398,000 and depreciation.


Estate Vineyards / AVA

Our guiding philosophy is quite simple: great wines always begin with exceptional fruit. Committed to natural winegrowing and sustainability, we farm our five estate vineyards without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.

Since 2003, our vineyards have been in full production, and our wines are 100% estate-grown, produced, and bottled. We have 366 total acres planted in five vineyards that form a string of pearls running through the heart of Napa Valley: American Canyon, Carneros, Yountville, Rutherford, and Calistoga. Each has its own unique climate, and we have carefully chosen the varietals best-suited for each vineyard’s terroir. Because our vineyards are so vital to the success of our winemaking, we put great emphasis on being thoughtful stewards of our land and vines. We have done so for more than 30 years, and that is one primary reason why Grgich Hills has consistently produced award-winning wines that are enjoyed across America and all around the world

Awards

2013 Essence Napa Valley, Michael Apstein: 97 points. Read the review.

2012 Essence Napa Valley, Wine Advocate: 90 points. Read the review.

2012 Essence Napa Valley, Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wines: 92 points. Read the review.

2012 Essence Napa Valley, Wine Spectator: 90 points. Read the review

2012 Essence Napa Valley, Robert Whitley. 97 points. Read the review.

2012 Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley. Tasting.com. 90 points. Read the review.

2012 Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley. Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW: 91 points. Read the review.

2012 Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley, Fifty Best, Double Gold. Read the review.

2011 Fumé Blanc. Wine Enthusiast: 90 points. Read the review.

2011 Fumé Blanc. The Tasting Panel: 91 points. Read the review.

2011 Essence, Wine Enthusiast, 93 points. Read the review.

2011 Essence, The Tasting Panel, 90 points. Read the review.
2012 Chardonnay, Miljenko’s Selection. 90 points. The Wine Advocate. Read the review.

2012 Chardonnay, Miljenko’s Selection. 90 points. California Grapevine. Read the review.

2012 Chardonnay, Napa Valley. 90 points. California Grapevine. Read the review.

2011 Chardonnay, Napa Valley. 95 points, Paul Lukacs, WineReviewOnline. Read the review.

2011 Paris Tasting “Commemorative” Chardonnay. 97 points, Wine Review Online. Read the review.

2011 Paris Tasting “Commemorative” Chardonnay. 90 points, California Grapevine. Read the review.

2011 Chardonnay, Napa Valley. 92 points. Tastings.com. Read the review.

Stephan Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. 92 points for 2011 Paris Tasting “Commemorative” Chardonnay. Read the review.

Robert Whitley. 91 points for 2011 Chardonnay. Read the review.

Robert Whitley. 97 points for 2009 Carneros Selection Chardonnay. Read the review.

The Tasting Panel. 91 points for 2009 Carneros Selection Chardonnay. Read the review.

Wine Enthusiast. 90 points for 2009 Carneros Selection Chardonnay. Read the review.

The Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine.93 points for 2009 Carneros Selection Chardonnay. Read the review.

91 points for our 2010 Chardonnay from California Grapevine. Read the review.

Wine & Spirits named our 2009 Chardonnay one of the year’s best. Read the review.

92 points for 2008 Carneros Selection Chardonnay. California Grapevine. Read the review.

90 points for the 2009 Chardonnay. The Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine. Read the review.

Michael Apstein awarded 95 points to the 2009 Chardonnay. Read the review.

The 2009 Chardonnay earned 90 points from California Grapevine. Read the review.

Restaurant Wine awarded five stars to our 2007 Carneros Selection Chardonnay. Read the review.

Our 2008 Chardonnay received 90 points from Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. Read the review.

California Grapevine awarded 90 points to our 2007 Carneros Selection Chardonnay. Read the review.

The Grgich Hills 2007 Carneros Selection Chardonnay received 94 points from the Tasting Panel. Read the review.

Our 2008 Chardonnay earned 91 points from Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine. Read the review.

Our 2007 Chardonnay was named “Best of Class” in the 2010 International Wine & Spirit Competition in London. See the award.

The Grgich Hills 2007 Chardonnay was served in the Executive Residence of the White House on January 11th when Mrs. Obama hosted a luncheon for Congressional spouses in the East Room. See the recognition.

Our 2007 Chardonnay, Napa Valley, received 90 points from Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. Read the review.

The Wine News awarded 90 points both to our 2006 Chardonnay (read the review) and our 2006 Miljenko’s Old Vine Zinfandel (read the review)

Our Chardonnay was named one of the top 20 Chardonnays in Wine & Spirits 20th annual Restaurant Poll. Read the review.

Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine gave 90 points to our 2006 Chardonnay, Napa Valley. Read the review.

Our 2005 Chardonnay, Carneros, earned 91 points from Wine News. Download PDF.

Here is a summary of the great reviews our 2005 Chardonnay, Napa Valley, has enjoyed. Download PDF.

California Grapevine awards 90 points to our 2005 Chardonnay, Carneros Selection. Download PDF.

Wine Spectator awards 90 points to our 2005 Chardonnay, Carneros Selection. Download PDF.

Restaurant Wine awards five stars to our 2005 Chardonnay, Carneros Selection, calling it “Perhaps this winery’s best ever Chardonnay.” Read the review

2005 Chardonnay named one of the top ten Chardonnay’s of 2007 by Wine News. Read more.

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Zinfandel

2010 Zinfandel, 92 points. Tastings.com. Read the review.

2009 Zinfandel: 92 points, Exceptional, World Wide Championships Award, tastings.com. Read the review.

2009 Zinfandel, Restaurant Wine, five stars. Read the review.

Wine & Spirits magazine awarded the 2008 Zinfandel 91 points. Read the review.

Dan Berger called our 2008 Zinfandel “Exceptional.” Read the review.

Restaurant Wine gave our 2008 Miljenko’s Old Vines Zinfandel 4 stars. Read the review.

The 2007 Miljenko’s Old Vines Zinfandel earned 93 points from Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine. Read the review.

2007 Zinfandel earned 92 points from Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine. Read the review.

The Wine News awarded 90 points both to our 2006 Chardonnay (read the review) and our 2006 Miljenko’s Old Vine Zinfandel (read the review).

Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wines awarded 90 points to our 2006 Miljenko’s Old Vine Zinfandel. Read the review.

The Wine News picked our 2005 Miljenko’s Old Vine Zinfandel as the Zinfandel of the year. Read the review.

Wine News awarded the Miljenko’s Old Vine Zinfandel 95 points. Download PDF.

2005 Zinfandel was awarded five stars in the Summer 2008 issue of Quarterly Review of Wines. Read the review.

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Merlot

2010 Merlot, Michael Franz, 95 points. Read the review.

2010 Merlot. The Tasting Panel, 95 points, Publisher’s Pick. Read the review.

2010 Merlot. Tasting.com. 93 points. Read the review.

2009 Merlot, Robert Whitley 94 points. Read the review.

2008 Merlot 94 points Michael Apstein. Read the review.

Our 2007 Merlot earned 93 points from Michael Apstein. Read the review.

Robert Whitley gave our 2005 Merlot 92 points in his Wine Talk column. Read the review.

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Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, California Grapevine. 92 points. Read the review.

2010 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, Wine Enthusiast. 92 points. Read the review.

2010 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, Michael Apstein, WineReviewOnline 98 points. Read the review.

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, tastings.com. Gold Medal, 94 points. Read the review.

2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Michael Apstein, WineReviewOnline 93 points. Read the review.

2009 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wines, 93 points. Read the review.

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wine Enthusiast, 91 points. Read the review.

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Robert Whitley, 96 points. Read the review.

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wine Spectator, 91 points. Read the review.

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Restaurant Wine, 5 stars, Read the review.

Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, 4 plus stars. Read the review.

Robert Whitley on Wine: 96 points for 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. Read the review.

Wine Enthusiast. 90 points for 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. Read the review.

The Tasting Panel. 91 points for 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. Read the review.

Restaurant Wine gave our 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon 4 stars. Read the review.

Restaurant Wine gave our 2007 Yountville Selection, Cabernet Sauvignon 4 stars. Read the review.

Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wines. 90 points. 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. Read the review.

The Tasting Panel. 91 points. 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. Read the review.

Michael Franz of winereviewonline.com gave 94 points to our 2008 Cabernet Sauvigon. Read the review.

92 points for our 2007 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon from California Grapevine. Read the review.

James Suckling awarded 93 points to our 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. Read the review.

Robert Whitley gave the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon 96 points, calling it a “cure for the Cult Cab affliction.” Read the review.

California Grapevine awarded 90 points to our 2006 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. Read the review.

The Quarterly Review of Wine‘s “Best of the Best” issue gave our 2006 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Four Stars. Read the review.

The Grgich Hills 2006 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon received 96 points from wine writer Robert Whitley in his Wine Talk column. Read the review.

Michael Apstein awarded 96 points to our 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.” Read the review.

Our 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Yountville Selection, was awarded 90 points by the Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine, calling it a “carefully constructed and incisively varietal offering.” Read the review.

The Quarterly Review of Wines gave five stars, its highest rating, to our 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. Read the review.

Wine Spectator awarded 92 points to our 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. Read the review.

Our 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Yountville Selection, was awarded 94 points by Wine News. Read the review.

The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon has earned several awards and positive reviews. Here is a summary. Download PDF.

The Wine News awards the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon 90 points. Download PDF.

New World International Wine Competition awards the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon “Best New World Cabernet Sauvignon.” Download PDF.

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon – California Grapevine gives our 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon 91 points and calls it the best Cabernet from Grgich Hills in recent years. Read the review.

Grgich Hills named one of the top 25 Cabernet producers. Read the review

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Violetta

2012 Violetta. Wine Enthusiast, 90 points. Read the review.

2012 Violetta. Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine. Read the review.

2009 Violetta. Restaurant Wine, 4plus stars. Read the review.

Wine Spectator awarded 90 points to our 2008 Violetta late harvest wine. Read the review.

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Hours

Daily: 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

Address

1829 St Helena Hwy
Rutherford, California 94573
United States

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