Grgich Hills Estate

"King of the Judgement of Paris"

About Grgish Hill Estate

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.


Estate Vineyards

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.


Miljenko's Vineyards (Calistoga)

In 1997, Miljenko “Mike” Grgich purchased a vineyard in Calistoga that he had first became familiar with when he was at Chateau Montelena and made wine from grapes here. Part of the vineyard was planted to Zinfandel that was more than 100 years old and it made some of the best Zinfandel Mike had ever tasted so he patiently waited until the vineyard came on the market. Mike enjoyed the spectacular view so much he built his home here and called the vineyard Miljenko’s, using his Croatian name. The old vine Zinfandel is of unknown origin, while the newer plantings were budded over from these century-old Zinfandel vines. The vineyard’s gravelly loam provide excellent drainage and the cloudless days and cool nighttime temperatures are perfect for sun-loving Zinfandel. The vines are head pruned to protect the grapes from sunburn. All of these factors combine to produce concentrated, complex flavors in the wine. Committed to natural winegrowing and sustainability, we farm all of our vineyards without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides and they are certified organic.


Yountville Vineyards

Set between Oakville and Napa on the valley floor, our 63-acre Yountville vineyard borders Dominus Estate Vineyard. Our classic Bordeaux varietals are grown here including 54 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, 5 acres of Merlot, and 5.4 acres of Petit Verdot.

Twenty-five acres of our Cabernet were planted in 1959, making it some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon in the Napa Valley. These vines are the source of our prestigious vineyard-designate wine, “Yountville Selection ” Cabernet Sauvignon. All of our vineyards are farmed naturally and are certified organic.


Founder & President: Miljenko "Mike" Grgich

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.”


Winemaker: Ivo Jeramaz

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.




  • Mike Grgich: The King of California Chardonnay; MARCH 12, 2015Winemakers have much in common with fingerprints, each leaving their own indelible impression on everything they touch, a considerable amount of which isn’t always instantly detected. Although experts agree on few things in the wide world of wine, almost all concede that wine is born in the vineyard but shaped by the winemaker.

  • Power Duos-Napa Sonoma MagazineFEBRUARY 17, 2015 Miljenko and Violet Grgich — Father and Daughter Grgich Hills Estate, Rutherford Violet Grgich’s father, Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, crafted some of America’s most legendary wines while she was growing up, including the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that beat out the highly touted French wines at the Paris Tasting in ’76.

  • Grgich Hills Estate celebrates the 35th anniversary of The Great Chicago Chardonnay Showdown JANUARY 15, 2015 Chicago Tribune called 1977 Chardonnay “The Best Chardonnay in the World”  Rutherford, California /January 15, 2015  In 1980 “The Great Chicago Showdown” brought together 221 of the best Chardonnays from around the world.  Chardonnays from France, California, New York and even Bulgaria were collected for a historic first, the largest blind tasting of that time.

  • Future Croatian winemakers benefit from Mike Grgich giving back to his homelandNOVEMBER 21, 2014Winners of the Miljenko Grgich Scholarship Fund at the University of Zagreb in Croatia finally met their benefactor in the Legacy Room at Grgich Hills Estate on November 18. Vintners Hall of Fame inductee Miljenko “Mike” Grgich is a graduate of the University of Zagreb’s Department of Viticulture and Enology.

  • Winemaker Interview: Miljenko ‘Mike’ Grgich: By Stacy Slinkard Wine Expert. SEPTEMBER 18, 2014Founder of Grgich Hills Estate and pioneering winemaker, Miljenko ‘Mike’ Grgich’s career in the Napa Valley has traced the evolution of the region’s best wines. From a mere 25 wineries in the late 1950s to over 500 wineries strong today, Napa Valley’s wine story and Mike Grgich’s personal and professional winemaking narrative find an inspiring.

  • Spotlight on Grgich’s Yountville Selection Cabernet: The Weekly Calistogan SEPTEMBER 11, 2014By Anne Ernst. Before he moved to Calistoga Miljenko “Mike” Grgich lived on the estate where a storied vineyard grows that produces the grapes for his winery’s Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, a vertical collection of which was showcased to a group of wine writers late last month.

  • Floral, fruitful flavors makes Grgich Hills Fume Blancs irresistible: New Jersey Star Ledger SEPTEMBER 11, 2014Wine with John Foy. Miljenko (Mike) Grgich is probably the reason why you like fume blanc wine. Grgich (pronounced GUR-gich) joined the Robert Mondavi winery in 1968, when selling sauvignon blanc was a challenge because the grape was unknown and the wine had a sweet edge.

  • Author of “Judgment of Paris” book joins Mike Grgich for book signing SEPTEMBER 5, 2014George Taber, author of “Judgment of Paris”, and Vintners Hall of Fame inductee Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, who is a major figure in the book, will be signing copies of the book in the Grgich Hills Estate tasting room from 2:30 to 4pm on September 21st, 2014.

  • Celebrating harvest at Grgich Hills with music and blessings: AUGUST 29, 2014Two days before the shock and sudden gloom of the Napa earthquake, they held a happy ceremony at Grgich Hills Estate. They have been performing this ritual for 37 years—through good times and bad, through earthquakes, drought and war. It was the annual blessing of the grapes to mark the start of harvest.

  • Grgich Hills Estate has a great story, but lets the wine speak: Portland Press Herald AUGUST 13, 2014There are those who approach a given wine the way mid-20th-century New Critics did literary works. They strip their analysis of all cultural and historical references and any sort of romantic, obviously subjective sympathies, to arrive at a more putatively objective focus on the thing itself.




  • Wine & Spirits magazine has named Grgich Hills a winery of year seven times.

  • Mike Grgich was honored by the Smithsonian Institution with an exhibit featuring his wine and includes the small cardboard suitcase he traveled with when he left Croatia, his winemaking text books and his famous beret.

  • Mike Grgich was named one of the most influential leaders in the North Bay by the North Bay Business Journal.

  • Wine & Spirits‘ April 2008 Restaurant Poll names Grgich Hills as one of the top 50 wineries and our Chardonnay one of the top 20.

  • Grgich Hills named one of the wineries of the year for 2007 by Wine & Spirits.

Fumé Blanc

  • 2013 Essence Napa Valley, Michael Apstein: 97 points.

  • 2012 Essence Napa Valley, Wine Advocate: 90 points.

  • 2012 Essence Napa Valley, Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wines: 92 points.

  • 2012 Essence Napa Valley, Wine Spectator: 90 points.

  • 2012 Essence Napa Valley, Robert Whitley. 97 points.

  • 2012 Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley. 90 points.

  • 2012 Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley. Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW: 91 points.

  • 2012 Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley,  Fifty Best, Double Gold.

  • 2011 Fumé Blanc. Wine Enthusiast: 90 points.

  • 2011 Fumé Blanc. The Tasting Panel: 91 points.

  • 2011 Essence, Wine Enthusiast, 93 points.

  • 2011 Essence, The Tasting Panel, 90 points.

  • Wine & Spirits gave our 2010 Fumé Blanc 93 points and called it the year’s best Sauvignon Blanc.

  • Restaurant Wine gave our 2010 Essence Fumé Blanc five stars.

  • The Tasting Panel gave our 2010 Fumé Blanc 93 points.

  • San Francisco Chronicle named our 2010 Fumé Blanc one of the top 100 wines for 2011.

  • California Grapevine awarded 92 points to our 2010 Essence.

  • 90 points for our 2010 Fumé Blanc from California Grapevine.

  • Best of Show, 5 stars from the Quarterly Review of Wines for our 2009 Essence, Sauvigon Blanc.

  • Restaurant Wine gave our 2009 Fumé Blanc five stars!

  • Restaurant Wine gave 4+ stars to our 2009 Essence.

  • Anthony Dias Blue’s The Tasting Panel gave 91 points to the 2009 Fumé Blanc. 

  • Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine awarded 95 points to our 2009 Napa Valley Essence.

  • California Grapevine gave 90 points to our 2009 Napa Valley Essence.

  • The Seattle Times named our 2008 Fumé Blanc “best of tasting” in its round-up of Sauvignon Blancs.

  • The San Francisco Chronicle called our Fume Blanc “a benchmark for Napa” and recommended our 2008 Essence limited-production Sauvignon Blanc.

  • Bon Appétit magazine named our 2008 Fume Blanc one of its “Hot Bottles” in the June issue.

  • Our 2008 Napa Valley Essence received 96 points from Connoisseurs’ Guide and 90 points from California Grapevine.

  • California Grapevine awarded 90 points to our 2008 Fumé Blanc, calling it “Very Highly Recommended.”

  • The Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wines gave our 2007 Essence 93 points, read the review, and our 2007 Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley, 90 points.

  • Wine Spectator awarded our 2007 Essence 91 points.

  • San Francisco Chronicle named our 2006 Fume Blanc one of the top 100 wines for 2008.

  • California Grapevine gave 90 points to our 2007 Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley.

  • 2006 Fume Blanc has been a hit with the critics and consumers. Here are some of the reviews this wine has received.

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  • 2012 Chardonnay, Miljenko’s Selection. 90 points. The Wine Advocate.

  • 2012 Chardonnay, Miljenko’s Selection. 90 points. California Grapevine.

  • 2012 Chardonnay, Napa Valley. 90 points. California Grapevine.

  • 2011 Chardonnay, Napa Valley. 95 points, Paul Lukacs, WineReviewOnline.

  • 2011 Paris Tasting “Commemorative” Chardonnay. 97 points, Wine Review Online.

  • 2011 Paris Tasting “Commemorative” Chardonnay. 90 points, California Grapevine.

  • 2011 Chardonnay, Napa Valley. 92 points.

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

  • Robert Whitley. 91 points for 2011 Chardonnay.

  • Robert Whitley. 97 points for 2009 Carneros Selection Chardonnay.

  • The Tasting Panel. 91 points for 2009 Carneros Selection Chardonnay.

  • Wine Enthusiast. 90 points for 2009 Carneros Selection Chardonnay.

  • The Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine.93 points for 2009 Carneros Selection Chardonnay.

  • 91 points for our 2010 Chardonnay from California Grapevine.

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

  • 92 points for 2008 Carneros Selection Chardonnay. California Grapevine.

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

  • Michael Apstein awarded 95 points to the 2009 Chardonnay.

  • The 2009 Chardonnay earned 90 points from California Grapevine.

  • Restaurant Wine awarded five stars to our 2007 Carneros Selection Chardonnay.

  • Our 2008 Chardonnay received 90 points from Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar.

  • California Grapevine awarded 90 points to our 2007 Carneros Selection Chardonnay.

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

  • Our 2008 Chardonnay earned 91 points from Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine.

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

  • 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.

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

  • The Wine News awarded 90 points both to our 2006 Chardonnay and our 2006 Miljenko’s Old Vine Zinfandel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • 2010 Merlot, Michael Franz, 95 points.

  • 2010 Merlot. The Tasting Panel, 95 points, Publisher’s Pick.

  • 2010 Merlot. 93 points.

  • 2009 Merlot, Robert Whitley 94 points.

  • 2008 Merlot 94 points Michael Apstein.

  • Our 2007 Merlot earned 93 points from Michael Apstein

  • Robert Whitley gave our 2005 Merlot 92 points in his Wine Talk column.

Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 2010 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, California Grapevine. 92 points.

  • 2010 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, Wine Enthusiast. 92 points.

  • 2010 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, Michael Apstein, WineReviewOnline 98 points.

  • 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Gold Medal, 94 points.

  • 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Michael Apstein, WineReviewOnline 93 points.

  • 2009 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wines, 93 points.

  • 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wine Enthusiast, 91 points.

  • 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Robert Whitley, 96 points. 

  • 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wine Spectator, 91 points.

  • 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Restaurant Wine, 5 stars.

  • Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, 4 plus stars.

  • Robert Whitley on Wine: 96 points for 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • Wine Enthusiast. 90 points for 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • The Tasting Panel. 91 points for 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • Restaurant Wine gave our 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon 4 stars.

  • Restaurant Wine gave our 2007 Yountville Selection, Cabernet Sauvignon 4 stars.

  • Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wines. 90 points. 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. 

  • The Tasting Panel. 91 points. 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • Michael Franz of gave 94 points to our 2008 Cabernet Sauvigon.

  • 92 points for our 2007 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon from California Grapevine.

  • James Suckling awarded 93 points to our 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.

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

  • California Grapevine awarded 90 points to our 2006 Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon.

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

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

  • Michael Apstein awarded 96 points to our 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.”

  • 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.”

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

  • Wine Spectator awarded 92 points to our 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley.

  • Our 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Yountville Selection, was awarded 94 points by Wine News.

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

  • The Wine News awards the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon 90 points.

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

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

  • Grgich Hills named one of the top 25 Cabernet producers.




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