Famed Napa winemaker Winiarski enters hall of fame tonight

Warren Winiarski, who while a winemaker at Stags Leap Wine Cellars was part of the victory of California wines at the pivotal 1976 Paris tasting, answers questions about what makes Napa Valley special and where the industry is going, at North Bay Business Journal's Impact Napa conference held at The Meritage Resort & Spa on Aug. 5, 2016. (JEFF QUACKENBUSH / NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL)


Roll out the red carpet rolls tonight in Sacramento for inductees to the California Hall of Fame and include Napa wine icon Warren Winiarski. The 7 p.m. ceremony includes living inductees receiving a “Spirit of California” medal from California Governor Jerry Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown.

Winiarski is only the second California wine industry member to be honored with this “Spirit of California” medal; Robert Mondavi was inducted to the California Hall of Fame in 2006, its inaugural year. Winiarski’s nomination for this award came at the suggestion of State Senator Jim Nielsen, who worked with Winiarski on the state’s Conjunctive Labeling Law passed in 1989 to protect the Napa Valley name and its wine as one of the state’s most important agricultural resources.

Winiarski is the owner of Acadia Vineyards, and founder of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

In 1964, Winiarski moved to the Napa Valley and in 1966, he became Robert Mondavi’s first winemaker. In 1970, he planted his first Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon vineyard in a former prune orchard.

Six years later, a 1973 cabernet sauvignon he created captured honors at the “Judgment of Paris” tasting, which for the first time equaled California wines to those in France. It also shined the spotlight on the winemaking region.

The lives and accomplishments of the honorees will be noted in an exhibition at the museum which runs through October, 2018, the announcement stated. The museum is located at 1020 O St. Sacramento.