Winemaker Mike Grgich! 90th Birthday Party! “Judgment Of Paris” Celebration!

Happy 90th Birthday, Mike Grgich!

Mike Grgich and Alex Duda

Alex and I were lucky enough to be able to attend a terrific 90th birthday celebration for iconic winemaker Mike Grgich!

The Judgment Of Paris!

Mike Grgich stunned the world in The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 or the “Judgment of Paris” – the event was a wine competition organized in Paris on 24 May 1976 by Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant, in which French judges carried out two blind tasting comparisons: one of top-quality Chardonnays and another of red wines (Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California).


It was Winemaker Mike Grgich’s Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that stunned the world by winning the top prize, and it helped make Napa a world famous wine region!

napa valley wine region

judgment of paris

Read this great book about the event and the amazing impact it had on Napa and the entire wine world!

Mike Grgich’s 90th Birthday Celebration!


To celebrate the winemaker’s 90th birthday, his staff threw him a big party! It was held at a beautiful farmhouse in Napa valley vineyards…

Mike Grgich 90th birthday party

The entire Grgich Hills team spent days preparing for this event – including our good friend Kelly Murray Gardner, who invited us to join the celebration, which was flawlessly executed: just look at how gorgeous the party looked!

Grgich winery birthday celebration

Mike Grgich Birthday celebration lineup

Grgich birthday celebration

And Here’s The Menu!

It was a daylong celebration with performers, speeches – oh, and there was a great array of food!

Grgich party menu

Grgich party buffet

And to celebrate Mike’s Croatian roots, there were THREE kinds of roasted meat: turkey, pork and lamb!

Grgich birthday

And they also provided the words to the Croatian National Anthem! There were also performances by the Croatian Kolo Group, speeches by Mike’s daughter, and many other unique touches…

Croatian National Anthem

And The Man Himself Spoke!

Here is a minute of his remarks to the crowd – a great story that you are never too old to make a new friend:

Mike Grgich toast

Grgich 90th birthday

The winemaker also posed for pictures with many of the people at the party, and he even took time to sit down in the special photo booth to capture a few shots of himself!

Mike Grgich 90th birthday

Mike Grgich photo booth

Always A Charmer!

And of course, Mike Grgich was being pure Mike Grgich, posing for pics with Alex – he’s extremely gregarious and full of life – in fact, I missed the moment when he kissed Alex on the cheek, but this one’s a great pic too:

Mike Grgich and Alex Duda

And Emerlee Too!

Of course, I also got a shot of Alex, Mike and our good friend Emerlee….

Mike Grgich Alex Duda Emerlee Nelford

John Rieber Emerlee Nelford

Oh, and here is the one shot of me to prove that I was there, too!


Mike Grgich speech

The highlight of the day was the moment when the wine maker spoke. After Mike’s speech, the entire crowd raised a glass and wished him a happy 90th! That’s his daughter at his side as he blows out the candle on his cake!

Mike Grgich 90th birthday cake

Mike Grgich winemaker birthday

Time To Dance!

After the toast, it was time to blow out the candles, have some cake – and dance dance dance! Here is Emerlee getting started as the guy to her right acts like he is acting out the last scene of “The Blair Witch Project”:

Emerlee Nelford dancing

But we found out he wasn’t shy, he was getting ready to sing The B-52’s “Love Shack.” Alex captured a moment of it, with Emerlee’s enthusiastic dance-along – and even a cameo of Alex!

Mike’s grandson also got into the act, dancing up a storm on top of some bales of hay!

Grgich grandson dancing

It was a great day of celebration – a terrific job by the entire Grgich Hills team – to know more about Mike Grgich and his wine, read the book, buy the wine, and check out the winery HERE!

legendary winemaker mike grgich grgich hills winery

Grgich Hills winery

Mike Grgich And The “elimiDATE” Connection!

Well, that sounds like an unlikely thing, right? Not so fast! Alex created “elimiDATE” in 2001, and during the first year, she filmed an episode in Napa valley, including grape crushing at Grgich Hills winery – and Mike was there!


It was fun to remember our Grgich connection as we celebrated the legendary winemaker’s birthday!

Kudos! Kudos! Kudos!

Thanks again to the entire Grgich team! Not only did they throw a GREAT party, they gave us a bag of goodies as well, inclduing a Mike Grgich Bobblehead!

Mike Grgich bobblehead

And, if you want to read more about the health benefits of wine, the latest in wine technology – yes, ROBOTS! – and the best movies about wine, click HERE!

Categories: Academy Awards, Awards, Books / Media, Food, Movies, Paris, Recipes, Talent/Celebrities, Technology, Travel, Travel Memoir, TV Show, Uncategorized, wine

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2 replies

  1. Winemaker Mike Grgich had gained international recognition at the historic Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 when the Chardonnay he produced at Chateau Montelena won first prize among white wines.



  1. Mike Grgich’s 90th Birthday Celebration! Napa’s Legendary Winemaker! « Spinning Orbit

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