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As Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Toasts 50 Years in Napa Valley, We Peek Back at Its First Major Feat

If you enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon, you may know well Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. But do you know the winery’s notable Napa history?

Back in 1976 at a blind tasting in Paris—just six years after the purchase of orchard land that previously nurtured prune and walnut trees—the 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon was chosen as the finest red wine in the group, besting first-growth wines from Bordeaux. The achievement was early evidence of Napa Valley’s future reputation for exceptional Cabernet Sauvignons, including Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ three that are estate-grown: S.L.V., CASK 23, and FAY.

For anyone who may not realize just what a big deal this accomplishment was at the time, the 1973 S.L.V. went on to earn a place in the National Museum of American History’s permanent collection. As Winemaker Marcus Notaro puts it, “The Judgment of Paris put Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, the Napa Valley wine region, and the entire American wine industry on a path to worldwide renown. It’s a legacy everyone at the winery, in the vineyard, and in the tasting room carries forward each day, while pushing the boundaries to do even better.”

While California tasting rooms are closed at press time, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars has summer celebrations scheduled in honor of half a century of winemaking, including an Annual Dinner in the Vineyard on August 15 and a Big Bottle Party at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars on September 16. Please visit for the latest on these and other events.

And while we continue to practice physical distancing, one of the best ways to support all our beloved California wineries is with direct online purchases. Some, like Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, are also offering virtual tastings. Comparing tasting notes with friends over Zoom? We’ll raise a glass to that, too.

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