Ballantine Beer Leaderboard
THE DRINK NATION IS A FREE RESOURCE FOR FINDING EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT DRINKING IN YOUR LOCATION
Signup

Jim Barrett, California Wine Pioneer, Dies at 86

by Melissa Auman Greiner on Mar 24, 2013 in Wine
Jim Barrett, California Wine Pioneer, Dies at 86

The wine world recently lost a treasured member — Jim Barrett, owner of Chateau Montelena in Napa Valley. He was 86. His son, Bo Barrett, said in a statement, "My dad died of a life well-lived."

Don’t worry if you don’t recognize the name. Many wine drinkers don’t, and from what we know of the man, Barrett liked it that way. His focus was on the beverage itself, and because of that, Americans have the wine culture we have today.

Barrett rose to industry fame in 1976 thanks to an article in Time. Thousands of miles away in a wine shop in Paris, his 1973 Chardonnay had won a blind taste test against a series of high-end, expensive white Burgundies. At that time, California was not called “Wine Country” — it was what Old World vintners considered a joke. A joke they choked on when a humble bottle from America blew their efforts out of the water.

Eventually referred to as the “Judgment of Paris” — and the centerpiece of the movie Bottle Shock — the tasting of Barrett’s wine is considered the event that put California wine on the map and helped spur decades of growth, production, and respect for the region.

So while you may not know Barrett’s name, the hardworking vintners who produce your favorite California reds and whites certainly do. Join them and us in raising a glass to his ambition and memory. Anything from Napa will do.

Recent Articles
Toasting 11 Years of the Steamboat Wine Festival (PHOTOS)
Bourbon Production Is Booming; So Is Consumption
Buy This Book: 'The 12 Bottle Bar'
2 Gingers Below Features
From Around The Web

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Buy This Book: 'The 12 Bottle Bar'

Buy This Book: 'The 12 Bottle Bar'

Grab 'The 12 Bottle Bar' and you've got a practical and affordable guide to bartending at home. ...read more ›

by Karen Locke Aug 19, 2014
Watch What Happens When a Dude Uses a Banana to Open a Beer Bottle
by The Drink Nation Aug 18, 2014
Beer Review: Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery's Session Saison

Beer Review: Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery's Session Saison

At 4.9 percent ABV, the farmhouse ale can be consumed over long drinking sessions; its finish is clean, it's light on the palate and its straw-colorat...read more ›

by Nathan Solheim Aug 18, 2014
SPONSORED
Perennial Funding - rectangle
Top 20 Drinking Quotes of All Time

Top 20 Drinking Quotes of All Time

Writers and musicians have a long, storied history with alcohol, and that intimacy with the bottle shows through in the memorable lines these artists ...read more ›

by Jenny An Sep 3, 2013
The Can't-Miss Events of DC Beer Week 2014

The Can't-Miss Events of DC Beer Week 2014

The annual festival celebrates the best brews with tap-takeovers, tastings, limited releases, beer dinners, educational seminars and the chance to mee...read more ›

by Mara Kurlandsky Aug 15, 2014
Does Sarah Palin Need an Alcohol Intervention?

Does Sarah Palin Need an Alcohol Intervention?

For the second time in a month, her strange behavior has prompted many to wonder if she has a drinking problem ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Aug 15, 2014
Is It Too Soon For Pumpkin Beer?

Is It Too Soon For Pumpkin Beer?

Breweries that prematurely release seasonal beers are making a mockery of the term, while making themselves look foolish...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Aug 14, 2014
Celebrate National Rum Day with The Hammond by Theo Lieberman

Celebrate National Rum Day with The Hammond by Theo Lieberman

We recommend making The Hammond by Theo Lieberman of NYC's Milk & Honey on National Rum Day....read more ›

by Drink Portland Aug 14, 2014
Craft Brewers Modify North Carolina Water to Make Their Beer Taste More Colorado-y

Craft Brewers Modify North Carolina Water to Make Their Beer Taste More Colorado-y

The ultimate goal is to turn out beers that taste exactly the same no matter where they were produced...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Aug 13, 2014
Can Beer Really Provide Insight Into the Collapse of Ancient Civilizations?

Can Beer Really Provide Insight Into the Collapse of Ancient Civilizations?

While beer has been identified as a major catalyst in developing civilizations, can it also serve as an indica...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Aug 12, 2014
SPONSORED
Read The Drink Nation Anywhere You Are
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close