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Vintners Hall of Fame Inductees

Vintners Hall of Fame Inductees


2013 Inductees

Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez
1927–1993
Inducted 2013

Latino farmworkers are an integral part of the viticultural teams that produce the great wines of California, and for decades, Cesar Chavez was their acknowledged leader. Chavez and the United Farm Workers union forced grape-growing companies across the state to recognize the importance of farmworkers' contribution to the world of wine. He was a farmworker himself until 1952, but he grew to become instrumental in the creation and passing of the California Agricultural Labor Relations act, which extended collective bargaining rights to farmworkers. It was Chavez's vision that first gave a voice to this underserved population. Today, they are recognized as highly skilled members of the grape-growing community, and many Latinos have started their own wineries, managed vineyards, and taken important roles throughout the wine industry. While he is as controversial as many of the winemakers of California, there is no doubt that the grapes and wines of our state have reaped the benefits of his activities.

Meredith "Merry" Edwards

Meredith "Merry" Edwards
Inducted 2013

One of the first women to graduate from the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, and the last graduate student to study with Professor Maynard Amerine, Merry Edwards began her impact on the California wine industry immediately. Her thesis on the danger of using lead in wine capsules is credited with helping end the practice, her refusal to accept unequal treatment as a woman forced the university to change its job placement program for graduating enologists, and her clonal research while she apprenticed with Dick Graff culminated in her leading the first seminar on clones to be given at Davis. Her winery résumé included Matanzas Creek Winery, Pellegrini Family Vineyards, and Liparita Cellars before she went on to start her own label in 1997, where she focused on passion for Pinot Noir. In 2007, Edwards built her own winery outside of Forestville, where she continues to make vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs as well as one of California's most lauded Sauvignon Blancs.

Robert M. Parker, Jr.

Robert M. Parker, Jr.
Inducted 2013

Robert Parker has been called not only the most powerful critic in the history of wine, but the most powerful critic in any field in our era. His newsletter The Wine Advocate has the ability to make the fortunes of obscure wineries overnight with just a paragraph. Not unlike fellow inductee Frank Schoonmaker, Parker had some less-than-kind words for California wine in the early years of his newsletter. He found them poor attempts to copy French styles, and he encouraged the entire industry to improve its appeal. Later, he championed many of the cult wineries of the 1990s, awarding them near-perfect scores on his famous 100-point scale. Many of his fans and critics alike credit Parker for defining the style of California wine today. In addition to his own newsletter, Parker contributes to dozens of publications, including Food & Wine magazine, Businessweek, L'Express in France and The Field in Great Britain. He has received awards from France, Italy, and now the California wine industry with his induction into the Vintners Hall of Fame.

Frank Schoonmaker

Frank Schoonmaker
1905–1976
Inducted 2013

More than any other individual, Frank Schoonmaker was responsible for a revolution in the perception of California wine after he himself became a convert. In a series of articles that appeared in The New Yorker and were published again in 1934 as the Complete Wine Book, he had little good to say about the wines of California. A few years later, he toured California wine country and made numerous personal discoveries. This was in 1939, and war was coming to Europe. Schoonmaker knew that the flow of wine from France, Italy, and Germany would soon end. Insisting that American wines should not be labeled with European names like "Burgundy" or "Chablis," he championed a different nomenclature: labeling them by the grape variety and the geographical source. This was long resisted by many in the California wine industry, though Schoonmaker never gave up. It wasn't until the mid 1970s, just before his death, that varietal labeling and the use of appellations of origin became widely accepted.

2012 Inductees

Joe Heitz

Joe Heitz
1919–2000
Inducted 2012

Joe Heitz was a gifted winemaker, and his unwavering commitment to quality contributed to the renaissance of California winemaking. Formally trained at UC Davis, he received a Master's Degree in Enology and began working in the Napa Valley in 1951 with André Tchelistcheff at Beaulieu. He was a firm believer in education, so when he was called upon to set up the first enology department at Fresno State, he accepted. Joe's entrepreneurial spirit took him back to the Napa Valley in 1961, where he and his wife Alice founded Heitz Wine Cellars and built a successful family business. He produced wines that are celebrated for their exceptional quality and proven record of age ability, highlighted by the legendary Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the first iconic single-vineyard designations. He also set the tone for higher pricing, realizing that customers would pay more for quality, which brought international attention to Napa Valley wines. Joe worked hard in organizations devoted to the progress of the wine industry and was acknowledged for his leadership.

Eugene Hilgard

Eugene Hilgard
1833–1916
Inducted 2012

In 1874, Eugene Hilgard was lured to UC Berkeley from the University of Michigan because the UC president needed a great scholar to head the College of Agriculture and to pursue research in agricultural science. What Hilgard found in California was a state whose soil and climate were perfect for winegrowing, but whose young wine industry was struggling with poor quality and lands invaded by phylloxera. So he spent 25 years leading a statewide movement to remedy the situation. At UC Berkeley he created the nation's first unit devoted to viticulture and enology. He organized courses, recruited faculty, and offered support to the state's wine growers. By 1894 the college had published its 100th technical bulletin, with more than half its content devoted to viticulture and enology, and Hilgard personally published almost 100 papers on grape growing, cultivar trials, and wine chemistry. Hilgard's ideals and the program he founded are still evident today in the world-renowned UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology.

Peter Mondavi, Sr.

Peter Mondavi, Sr.
Inducted 2012

Few vintners have been as instructive as Peter Mondavi, Sr., who showed just how fresh and fruity California wine can be and established new standards for the wine trade. His use of the cold fermentation technique and sterile filtration quickly improved the cleanliness and crispness of California white wines. For 68 years, he's continued his experimental ways at Charles Krug Winery. Mondavi was among the first to use French oak barrels. He was the first to release Chenin Blanc as a varietal, and to install glass-lined steel tanks to better showcase the fruit, slow the maturation of wines, and prolong their lives. He was also an early advocate of the centrifuge and of fermenting Chardonnay in oak barrels. He began tastings for distributors, restaurateurs, and consumers that became the model for the industry. And he was one of the early growers to see in the Carneros district an accommodating home for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Merlot.

Myron Nightingale

Myron Nightingale
1915–1988
Inducted 2012

Myron Nightingale began his career as a winemaker in 1944, and by 1949 he was chief chemist at Italian Swiss Colony, one of California's largest wineries. In 1953, he took charge of Livermore's historic Cresta Blanca Winery, guiding the resuscitation of the rundown facility. He made enological history with his Premier Semillon made in the style of Sauternes, in which the botrytis cinerea was actually produced in the laboratory. "Nightingale" is the name for the botrytized Semillon wine that Nightingale and his wife Alice started to produce in the 1960s. He moved to the Napa Valley in 1971 to apply his resuscitation skills at the old Beringer Winery, newly purchased by Nestlé. As winemaker and director of operations, Nightingale did far more than just bring the Napa Valley landmark winery back to life; he gradually made it a large-scale producer of world-class varietal wines. In 1983, Myron was honored with the President's Award by the Los Angeles County Fair. The award reads: "To Myron S. Nightingale for his incalculable contributions to California and her wines."

John Parducci

John Parducci
Inducted 2012

At the age of 14, John Parducci traveled alone with 40 rail cars of the family grapes to sell to home winemakers during Prohibition. When he took over winemaking at his family's Mendocino County winery in 1940, Parducci strove to improve the quality of wine while making it more accessible. Affectionately labeled "Mr. Mendocino," he championed the region nationally for more than half a century. Parducci was the first to label varietals in Mendocino, including the first Zinfandel (1944), Petite Sirah (1946), and French Colombard (1947). He experimented with grape varieties virtually unknown in California, such as Nebbiolo and Flora. He was well-known for a variety of ports and dessert wines, was an early proponent of vintage-dating wines, and made fruit wines. His wines were praised for offering clean and clear varietal flavors at fair prices. In 1999, five years after he ostensibly retired, Parducci jumped back into the business by buying Zellerbach Estates in the McNab Valley and making it over into McNab Ridge Winery, continuing the family legacy with his grandson.

Richard Sanford

Richard Sanford
Inducted 2012

A Burgundy fan, Richard Sanford graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in geography in 1965 but was immediately drafted into the Navy. He returned to civilian life in the late 1960s with a passion for Pinot Noir. With his geography background, Richard determined that the west coast was the perfect place to plant Pinot Noir vines. Recognizing the Transverse Mountain Range of California and cool maritime coastal climate of Santa Barbara County, with thermometer in hand, he selected a site west of highway 101 in the Santa Ynez Valley. He was the first winemaker to prove the potential for Pinot Noir in the chilly Santa Rita Hills, founding Sanford & Benedict Vineyard in 1970. He and his wife Thekla founded Sanford Winery in 1981 and spent the next 24 years making some of the best-regarded Pinot Noir from the region. The first certified organic winegrowers of the county, the Sanfords left their namesake winery in 2005 and founded Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards to continue their commitment to agriculture in harmony with nature.

Albert Winkler

Albert Winkler
1894-1989
Inducted 2012

Albert Winkler joined the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis in 1921 and served as department chairman from 1933 to 1957, where he grew the department from four faculty members to 10 by 1945. His research on grapevine physiology was critical to understanding how pruning and trellising influence vine growth and grape quality. The canopy management methods employed in the best vineyards today are based on principles Winkler introduced. His work regarding the relationship between temperature and fruit ripening led directly to the regional classification of California's grape growing areas, along with recommendations for varieties that were best-suited for each region. In addition to his teaching and research, Winkler was active in viticulture extension programs, writing many leaflets and giving frequent talks to grape grower organizations. His classic textbook General Viticulture, published in 1962, has been used by thousands of winemakers and grape growers and translated into several languages.

2011 Inductees

Richard Graff

Richard Graff
Inducted 2011

Richard Graff was a pioneer of California Pinot Noir. With a loan from his mother in 1965, Graff bought Chalone vineyard, which had been producing mistletoe. He recognized that the limestone soil was similar to terrain he had worked on during a year spent in Burgundy. He restored neglected grapevines and introduced Burgundian methods of winemaking: fermenting in oak barrels imported from France, aging white wines on their lees, and encouraging malolactic fermentation – all anathema in California at the time. He took pains to preserve the character inherent in the microclimate of Chalone's unusual site. He produced finely crafted Pinot Noir of a quality we now take for granted in California. Demand for his wines far exceeded the supply. Eventually he brought in partners, expanded, and later the enlarged company acquired Acacia, then a leading producer of Pinot Noir in Carneros.

Joel Peterson

Joel Peterson
Inducted in 2011

While working as a microbiologist, Joel Peterson co-founded Ravenswood Winery in 1976 with $4,000, no vineyards and no winery. He had worked with Joseph Swan for five vintages and wanted to make great wine from older vines planted in the right locations, which is how he became a Zinfandel expert, as those were the oldest vines in California. At the time, Zin was mostly known for making sweet pink wine. With his single-vineyard Zins, Peterson was instrumental in showing how well the grape reflects its terroir. Peterson's wines helped preserve some of California's oldest vineyards. In 2001, Ravenswood was sold to Constellation Brands for $148 million, but unlike many winemakers who strike gold, Peterson stayed with Constellation as a senior Vice President and Ravenswood's head winemaker, where he has continued to promote and produce the excellence of single-vineyard Zinfandel.

August Sebastiani

August Sebastiani
1914(?)–1980
Inducted in 2011

August Sebastiani, the youngest of three children, purchased Sebastiani winery from his father's estate in 1952 and developed it into what was at the time of his death in 1980 the 6th largest winery in the U.S. As his father had, August sold mostly jug wines, increasing production by more than 100 times over three decades. He was the first California vintner to make affordable varietal wines in magnum sizes. August Sebastiani was an enormous source of support for major growers in key wine growing regions including Alexander Valley, Lodi, Napa and Sonoma Valley. For many of these growers, his support often came at a time when they had no other home for their grapes. He played a major part in the economic development of the town of Sonoma, and was a significant philanthropist whose charitable gifts included the property for the Sonoma Valley Hospital.

Vernon Singleton

Vernon Singleton
Inducted in 2011

An expert on wine chemistry, Professor Singleton spent more than four decades in the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, retiring in 1991. He published more than 220 papers and four books. Wine: An Introduction for Americans, co-authored with Maynard Amerine, remains among the most widely read books of its kind, even decades after its last printing. Principles and Practices of Winemaking, co-authored with three UC Davis colleagues, is a textbook used worldwide. Professor Singleton is best known for his identification, characterization and transformation of the many phenolic substances in wine, including tannins. He also studied the contributions of barrel aging to wine phenolic composition and the role of oxygen in wine maturation.

Bob Trinchero

Bob Trinchero
Inducted in 2011

Bob Trinchero took over Sutter Home Winery in the 1960s, inheriting a mom-and-pop operation that sold generic wines to their Napa Valley neighbors, who filled barrels and bottles at the winery's back door. In 1968 he began making Amador County Zinfandel, purchasing fruit from some of the oldest vines in California. In 1972, looking for a way to make the wine more intense, he drained off some of the juice before fermentation and left some natural sugar in it, calling it "Oeil de Perdrix, A White Zinfandel Wine." Three years later, he dropped Oeil de Perdrix, as he had created what became America 's favorite wine for the rest of the millennium. Say what you want about White Zinfandel, it was affordable, introduced non-wine drinkers to wine, and preserved some old Zinfandel vineyards that might have been grafted to Chardonnay or paved for housing. And it made millions of people happy. Trinchero has played a large role in hosting Auction Napa Valley, which has contributed tens of millions of dollars to charity.

2010 Inductees

Leon Adams

Leon Adams
1905–1995
Inducted 2010

Considered a seminal historian of wine in the United States, Leon Adams is best known for his 1973 book The Wines of America, a comprehensive and ground-breaking history and survey of wine and wineries throughout the country, which celebrated American regional wines and their styles. Mr. Adams was a tireless advocate of the farm winery bills passed by many states in the 1970s and 1980s which eased the way for grape growers to open wineries and sell their wines retail and wholesale. Leon Adams was also a founder of the Wine Institute, a public policy and advocacy group for California wineries.

Andy Beckstoffer

Andy Beckstoffer
Inducted 2010

Andy Beckstoffer came to Napa as a corporate executive in 1969, after earning an M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Recognizing the potential for growth in premium wines, he started a farming company which he eventually purchased in 1973. Beckstoffer Vineyards has grown to be the largest vineyard owner, farming group, and winegrape seller in the Napa Valley and the North Coast, delivering grapes to more than 100 of the state's most famous wineries. Andy Beckstoffer developed a formula for paying growers based on the finished wine value, thus reducing the incentive for excessive yield and focusing growers on quality. He has played a major role in preserving agriculture in the Napa Valley and has contributed to efforts to restore the Napa River.

Al Brounstein

Al Brounstein
1920–2006
Inducted 2010

Established in 1968, Al Brounstein's Diamond Creek Vineyards was the first wine estate in California to be planted solely with Cabernet Sauvignon. Noticing three distinct soil types on his property, Brounstein became one of the first California wineries to produce different Cabernet Sauvignons from single vineyards (Red Rock Terrace, Gravelly Meadow, and Volcanic Hill) on the same estate, setting the stage for what was to become known as super-premium Cabernet Sauvignons from Napa Valley. His 1978 Lake Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – a wine produced only in exceptional years – was the first California wine with a suggested retail price of $100 a bottle—an important milestone in the production of premium wine from California. The graceful aging of Brounstein's wines continues to be one of his main legacies to the fervent fans of Diamond Creek wines.

Randall Grahm

Randall Grahm
Inducted 2010

Randall Grahm was educated at UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis, while earning a reputation as an "enfant terrible" for telling everyone he planned to make the first great American Pinot Noir. Instead, he found himself entranced by "ugly duckling grape varietals" thereby introducing American consumers to vinifera far beyond Cabernet and Chardonnay. His vintage 1984 wine "Le Cigare Volant" proved that it was possible to craft and sell great Rhône wine blends from California. His amusing marketing still defies and at times defines the pretentious approach, such as when he held a funeral for the Cork (aka Thierry Bouchon) in 2002. Grahm, a longtime proponent of biodynamic viticulture, downsized his production in 2006 to focus on small estate wines. His first book, Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology, was published by U.C. Press in 2009.

Zelma Long

Zelma Long
Inducted 2010

After studying enology and viticulture at UC Davis in the late 1960s (where she was the only woman in her class), Zelma Long became the chief enologist at Robert Mondavi Winery, while also helping to establish Long Vineyards. She spent the 1980s and 1990s breaking the glass ceiling at Simi Winery as winemaker and CEO, becoming one of the first women to run both the winemaking and business sides of a California winery. Regarded as one of the early technical leaders in winemaking, Zelma has received national and international awards, including induction into the James Beard Hall of Fame in 1996 and receiving The James Beard Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year in 1997. Today she and her husband, Phillip Freese, are producing wine in South Africa under the Vilafonte label.

2009 Inductees

Gerald Asher

Gerald Asher
Inducted 2009

While still a student in London, Gerald Asher took a part-time job in a wine shop near Piccadilly, a small step that started him on his way to a distinguished career. A succession of work-study programs in key wine regions, led to employment in the wine industry in positions that eventually brought him to California where, as first chairman of Wine Institute's Geographic Appellations Committee, he quickly developed a keen sense of California's viticultural identity. Through his work in the industry and his elegantly written monthly essays for Gourmet, where he was wine editor for thirty years, he passed to countless others his deep knowledge of wine and his passion for California. Books drawn mainly from his Gourmet writing include On Wine, Vineyard Tales, Wine Journal, and The Pleasures of Wine.

Frederick and Jacob Beringer

Frederick and Jacob Beringer
Frederick Beringer 1840–1901, Jacob Beringer 1845–1915
Inducted 2009

With family roots in the Rhine Valley in Germany, brothers Frederick and Jacob Beringer's move to the Napa Valley laid the foundation for one of America's most iconic wineries. After immigrating to New York in the 1860s, Frederick became a successful businessman, while Jacob's passion for winemaking brought him further west, to the Napa Valley climate he heard was ideal for grape growing. After working at Charles Krug Winery, Jacob convinced Frederick to finance the purchase of a property with a hillside vineyard in St. Helena. An impressive stone winery with caves, more vineyards, and manicured grounds were soon added. Jacob crafted award-winning wines under the Beringer Brothers label that helped establish Napa Valley as a top grape-growing region, while laying the cornerstone for what would become the longest continuously operating winery in the Napa Valley.

Jack and Jamie Davies

Jack and Jamie Davies
Jack Davies 1923–1998, Jamie Davies 1934–2008
Inducted 2009

Jack and Jamie Davies revived the historic Schramsberg winery property on Diamond Mountain in 1965 with the objective of making California's first world-class sparkling wines. Their tireless enthusiasm and focused vision helped set new standards for wine quality in the Napa Valley, contributing greatly to the transformation of the California wine industry as a whole. They championed the successful effort to establish the Napa Valley Agricultural Preserve in 1968, the nation's first such land use initiative. Beginning with the "Toast to Peace" in Beijing, China in 1972, Schramsberg's sparkling wines have been served on countless occasions by U.S. presidents. Ever elevating the quality of their sparkling wines with cooler climate vineyard sights throughout the North Coast, Jack and Jamie Davies undertook the replanting of their hillside property in the 1990s to achieve its ultimate best use, giving birth to their namesake J. Davies Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon.

Jess Stonestreet Jackson

Jess Stonestreet Jackson
1930–2011
Inducted 2009

A real estate lawyer with a love for agriculture, Jess Jackson sold grapes from his vineyards until 1981, when grape prices fell so sharply that he decided to make his own wine. Two years later, the first wine bottled under the Kendall-Jackson label—the 1982 Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay—won the first Platinum Award ever presented by the American Wine Competition. Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay soon became America's best-selling premium wine, and Jess Jackson's commitment to quality made Jackson Family Wines one of the most successful family-owned wine companies in the United States. The company's focus on single-vineyard, mountain-grown wines helped establish Sonoma County as one of the great wine-producing regions in the world.

Carole Meredith, Ph.D.

Carole Meredith, PhD
Inducted 2009

Dr. Carole Meredith spent more than 20 years in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis, pioneering the use of DNA to analyze relationships among grape varieties. She and her collaborators determined the parentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Syrah, thereby dispelling long-held myths about their origins. Her discovery of Zinfandel's home in Croatia has enabled California producers to look to that country for new clones of this variety. The international program she founded led to a grape genome map that is the basis for identifying genes that control disease resistance and fruit quality. Dr. Meredith is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Chevalière de l'Ordre du Mèrite Agricole. After retiring from UC Davis as Professor Emeritus in 2003, she and her husband founded Lagier Meredith Vineyard, which produces world-class Syrahs.

Justin Meyer

Justin Meyer
1938–2002
Inducted 2009

As part of the Christian Brothers order, Justin Meyer was apprenticed to its famous cellarmaster, Brother Timothy, at the Christian Brothers Winery in Napa Valley, now home to The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. After completing studies in viticulture at the University of California, Davis and then leaving the order in 1972, Mr. Meyer met Ray Duncan, who had purchased land in Napa and Alexander Valleys and was searching for someone to plant and manage his vineyards. The two founded Silver Oak Cellars and crushed their first vintage that fall. Silver Oak was a pioneer in focusing exclusively on the production of Cabernet Sauvignon and is famous for extended aging, primarily in American oak barrels. At Silver Oak, Mr. Meyer created one of the most consistently sought-after ultra-premium wines in the world that continues to enjoy a devoted following. He was also highly respected for his contributions to the industry, notably through his leadership of the American Vineyard Foundation.

Warren Winiarski

Warren Winiarski
Inducted 2009

In 1964, sensing a new spirit of excitement about fine winemaking in California, Warren Winiarski left his teaching position at the University of Chicago and moved with his family to the Napa Valley. After apprenticing at the original Souverain Winery and with friend and mentor André Tchelistcheff, Warren Mr. Winiarski became assistant winemaker at Robert Mondavi Winery in 1966. In 1970, Winiarski he and some partners bought property below the Stag's Leap palisades, and would go on to found Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. His first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon won the now-famous Judgment of Paris in 1976, besting top Bordeaux entries and fundamentally transforming how California wines were viewed worldwide. Calling his classic style "the iron fist in the velvet glove, Warren Winiarski has crafted elegant wines that have won awards and accolades for decades, and was a key figure in creating the Napa Valley Agricultural Preserve in 1968.

2008 Inductees

Darrell Corti

Darrell Corti
Inducted 2008

Highly respected and often controversial, wine and food expert Darrell Corti has been at the forefront of the development and growth of the California wine industry since joining his family's grocery business, Corti Brothers in Sacramento, in 1964. By seeking out new California fine wines, he has been instrumental in creating a larger market for emerging wineries, especially for those in Napa Valley. Darrell Corti has been a catalyst in the re-evaluation and renaissance of zinfandel, a leader in advocating wider use of Italian varieties or grapes in California, and has been integral to the rediscovery of the Sierra Foothills as a fine wine growing region. Corti is an internationally sought after member of wine and olive oil tasting panels and has mentored a generation of seminal food and wine professionals with his impeccable taste and articulate discourse.

John Daniel, Jr.

John Daniel, Jr.
1907–1971
Inducted 2008

Great grand-nephew to Inglenook's founder Gustave Niebaum, John Daniel, Jr. was part of a dynamic group of vintners who helped raise the standards of fine winemaking in Napa Valley after Prohibition. He played a key role in founding the Napa Valley Vintners Association, creating awareness of Napa Valley as an appellation of distinction with efforts such as vintage-dating and varietal labeling. John Daniel brought innovations to the cellar with advances in barrel aging and to the vineyards with a profound understanding of soils and vines and a movement away from over-cropping. While restoring Inglenook's fame, Daniel made what many considered to be some of not only California's, but the world's best cabernet sauvignons from the mid 1930s to the 1960s, creating a legacy of excellence for cabernet sauvignons for future generations of California winemakers.

Paul Draper

Paul Draper
Inducted 2008

Paul Draper joined Ridge Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1969, and went on to ardently advance the practice of single-vineyard winemaking in California. By embracing the terroir of particular vineyards, over the course of nearly four decades he has crafted balanced and distinctive wines expressive of the character of each site. With his devotion to traditional, non-intrusive winemaking methods (including the use of naturally occurring yeasts and malolactic cultures), Draper has guided to international fame the cool climate Monte Bello cabernet sauvignons and realized the potential of zinfandel to make complex wines that age gloriously and gracefully. His many awards include having been named Decanter's Man of the Year in 2000, joining André Tchelistcheff and Robert Mondavi as the only Americans so honored.

Ernest & Julio Gallo

Ernest and Julio Gallo
Ernest Gallo 1909–2007, Julio Gallo 1910–1993
Inducted 2008

Seizing opportunities provided by the repeal of prohibition, Ernest and Julio Gallo started E. & J. Gallo Winery in 1933. With self-education in the winemaking process and hard work, the Gallo brothers were instrumental in introducing Americans to wine and in creating the modern American wine market. While being pioneers in wine advertising on television, Ernest and Julio were first to establish national sales, marketing, and brand management forces. They also drove initiatives such as the use of stainless steel tanks for fermentation, winery automation, long-term grower contracts for varietal grapes, and major grape research programs. The company they founded grew to become one of the largest wine producers in the world.

Miljenko "Mike" Grgich

Miljenko "Mike" Grgich
Inducted 2008

A fourth-generation winemaker in his native Croatia, Mike Grgich fled communist Yugoslavia in 1954. After arriving in Napa Valley in 1958, he worked with winemaking luminaries at Souverain, Christian Brothers, Beaulieu Vineyards, and Robert Mondavi Vineyards. In 1976, a chardonnay he crafted as winemaker at Chateau Montelena beat the best white wines in France in the now famous "Judgment of Paris" tasting, helping to shatter the myth that only French soil could produce the world's greatest wines. Since founding Grgich Hills Cellars with Austin Hills in 1977, Grgich has continued receiving international awards for his estate-grown wines, most especially chardonnays. Mike Grgich has been at the forefront of organic and biodynamic vineyard practices and helped pioneer the use of cold stabilization. His creed: "You make wines with your heart."

Louis P. Martini

Louis P. Martini
1918–1998
Inducted 2008

Thoughtful, well-educated, and experimental, Louis P. Martini, son of Martini Winery founder Louis M. Martini, was a key figure in post-Prohibition Napa Valley. He was an intrepid innovator, making important strides in improving grape quality with superior clones, the use of wind machines in the vineyard for frost protection, the use of mechanical grape harvesters, and in vineyard design. Martini was one of the first vintners to realize the potential of the Carneros district for the growing of pinot noir, producing pinot noir from the Carneros as early as the 1950s. He also pioneered merlot as its own varietal in 1968. Louis P. Martini was a founding member of the Napa Valley Vintners Association, The Wine Institute, and The Society of Enologists, all key organizations in the advancement of the California wine industry.

Carl Heinrich Wente

Carl Heinrich Wente
1851–1912
Inducted 2008

Emigrating from Germany in the 1870s, Carl Heinrich Wente studied winemaking at Charles Krug winery before migrating to the Livermore Valley just east of San Francisco Bay. With the purchase of forty-seven acres, he founded Wente Vineyards, which today is the oldest continuously operated family-owned winery in the country. Wente grafted Old World winemaking techniques onto New World soil, most notably by taking advantage of Livermore Valley's marine influences and gravelly soils in creating white wines of distinction, particularly semillon and sauvignon blanc. In 1912, C. H. Wente planted chardonnay cuttings obtained by his son Ernest in France, which would go on to become the famous "Wente Clone" that accounts for 80% of all the chardonnay planted in California.

2007 Inductees

Maynard Amerine, Ph.D.

Maynard Amerine, PhD
1911–1998
Inducted 2007

Maynard Amerine's work as an enologist, teacher, and writer helped make the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University at California, Davis, one of the most respected in the world.

After joining the UC Davis faculty in 1935, Professor Amerine—along with other members of the department—helped revive the wine industry after Prohibition in many ways. Notable among his accomplishments was research on matching the right types of wine varieties with different regions of California, and writing reference works on table wine, dessert wine, and brandy.

His writings appealed to a wide range of people interested in wine—from enologists to connoisseurs—and his book Wine: An Introduction for Americans remains a popular reference. Professor Amerine also made substantial contributions to the literature of wine judging methods, color in wines, aging of wine, and the control of fermentation.

Brother Timothy

Brother Timothy
1910–2004
Inducted 2007

A longtime cellar master and pioneering winemaker for Christian Brothers Winery, Brother Timothy was instrumental in reviving the wine industry in Napa Valley after Prohibition and in advocating technological advances that brought California winemaking into the modern era.

A member of the De La Salle Christin Brothers, Brother Timothy was known for his kindness, wit, and uncanny ability to assess wine, all of which made him one of the most beloved architects of 20th-century winemaking in California. One of his many legacies lives on in his world-renowned corkscrew collection at the CIA at Greystone, consisting of over 1,100 corkscrews collected over his 50-year career.

When asked to explain his religious vocation and its connection to his life's work, Brother Timothy often referred to Benjamin Franklin's quote: "Wine is a constant reminder that God loves us and loves to see us happy."

Georges de Latour

Georges de Latour
1856–1940
Inducted 2007

At the close of the 19th century, French immigrant Georges de Latour visited the Napa Valley and was struck by the similarities to the Medoc, where his family owned vineyards. Determined to open a winery, de Latour and his wife Fernande bought four acres of vines in Rutherford, which they aptly named Beaulieu, or "beautiful place."

Almost immediately, de Latour had a profound impact on the California wine industry, importing French vines crafted onto phylloxera-resistant rootstock and helping to revitalize the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma counties.

Georges de Latour's entrepreneurial spirit kept Beaulieu alive and thriving during Prohibition by selling altar wine to churches. History was made when he brought enologist André Tchelistcheff from France to create the world-class Cabernet Sauvignons for which Beaulieu and the Napa Valley have become famous.

Agoston Haraszthy

Agoston Haraszthy
1812–1869
Inducted 2007

Count Agoston Haraszthy's restless spirit brought him to America in 1840, where he pursued many entrepreneurial and agricultural opportunities, always seeking to establish the high-quality vineyards of his native Hungary. He found his chance when, in 1857, he planted some of California's first European varietals and laid the foundation for winery buildings at his Buena Vista property.

After being appointed in 1861 to a California commission to improve agricultural methods, Count Haraszthy traveled to Europe to collect vines and fruit stock. He returned to California with more than 100,000 vines, representing over 14,000 varieties, laying the groundwork for the California wine industry. His book, Grape Culture, Wine and Wine Making remained a classic well into the 20th century.

Charles Krug

Charles Krug
1825–1892
Inducted 2007

Charles Krug was a man of many firsts in the genesis of the California wine industry. In 1858, he set out on his distinguished career by planting 20 acres of vines in Sonoma. That same year, as Northern California's first consulting winemaker, he produced one of the first wines made in the Napa Valley.

After acquiring land in St. Helena, Krug planted one of the first vineyards in the Napa Valley, and in 1861 began building the winery that bears his name.

An important part of his legacy was joining other wine leaders of the day to found the St. Helena Viticultural Society, Board of State Viticultural Commissioners, and the Napa Valley Wine Company, the first organizations to brand, market, and protect the provenance California wines.

Robert Mondavi

Robert Mondavi
1913–2008
Inducted 2007

With a commitment to excellence and a visionary understanding of wine's place at the American table, Robert Mondavi has dedicated his life to showing how wine adds to life's enjoyment. His motto, "Making good wine is a skill, fine wine an art," has inspired winemakers in California and around the world.

A pioneer of fine winemaking in Napa Valley, Mondavi has been equally committed to wine's place, along with cooking, as one of the arts. His wide-ranging support for the arts, as well as community and charitable works, is legendary, and his conferences and educational programs have added immeasurably to the appreciation of wine in America.

Throughout his life and career, Robert Mondavi has set the highest of goals, and has consistently sought to lead the wine industry to ever-greater achievements. Robert's creed: "Go forward, this is only the beginning."

Gustave Niebaum

Gustave Niebaum
1842–1908
Inducted 2007

Having already amassed a fortune as a sea captain and fur trader, Gustave Niebaum was looking for a new business adventure when he and his wife were drawn to the beauty of the Napa Valley and its potential as a great wine-producing region.

After purchasing the Inglenook property in 1879, Niebaum built an imposing stone winery château and produced the first estate-bottled, Bordeaux-style wine in California. Using demanding methods of temperature control and stringent sanitation techniques, he was one of the first winegrowers to establish the reputation of the Napa Valley as producing fine wines equal to the great wine regions of France.

His motto of "Quality, not quantity" inspired new standards of excellence in California winemaking, for his generation and generations to come.

Harold Olmo, Ph.D.

Harold Olmo, PhD
1909–2006
Inducted 2007

Harold Olmo helped create the modern California wine industry with his prolific work developing winegrape hybrids suited to the state's specific growing conditions. He served on the faculty of the University of California, Davis, Department of Viticulture and Oenology from 1931 until his retirement in 1997. Olmo continued his research until shortly before his death, donating millions of dollars in patent royalties back to the department.

Professor Olmo taught many of the people who have become prominent growers and winemakers in California, and his study of the Chardonnay grape helped to make it the most widely planted white wine grape in the state.

An adventurous traveler, Harold Olmo went to the Middle East in search of the origins of the vinifera grapevine, to Europe to obtain grapevine stock, and to grape-growing regions around the world as a United Nations consultant.

André Tchelistcheff

André Tchelistcheff
1901–1994
Inducted 2007

In 1938, Georges de Latour went to France in search of a new winemaker trained in both enology and microbiology. In Paris, he was introduced to Russian-born Anrdé Tchelistcheff and, at that moment, history was made.

Coming to Beaulieu Vineyards as vice president and chief winemaker, Tchelistcheff soon became one of California's most innovative winemakers, creating a definitive style for high-quality Cabernet Sauvignons, many of which were served at important White House functions.

He was one of the first winemakers to work with fruit from the Carneros district, which he used to produce renowned Pinot Noirs. His work with malolactic fermentation, cold stabilization, and selective planting—along with mentoring many of today's leading winemakers—has earned him recognition as the father of modern California winemaking.