Stepping into the tasting room at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars for the first time, you'd never guess that this unpretentious winery has a storied legacy. (The other parts of the winery are a sight to behold, but we'll get to that later.)
You'll hear about the Paris wine tasting of 1976 when you take the cellar tour with their knowledgeable guides.
Can't wait? Okay...here's the story.
Stag's Leap Wine Cellars gained international fame when its 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon took first place in a blind taste test in Paris. The tasting was judged by top French wine experts who were shocked by their wine pick, and subsequently tried to deny choosing this California Cab over a Bordeaux. This event made big news around the world, famously heralded by Time magazine's story titled "Judgment of Paris."
Stag's Leap Wine Cellars' win over French wines convinced other Napa Valley vintners that they could produce top-quality wines, too. And they do.
Family-owned Italian wine company, Marchesi Antinori bought ownership of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars from mega-wine producer, Ste. Michelle Wine Estate in July of 2023.
Warren Winiarski, who founded Stag's Leap in 1970, sold the winery in 2007. Washington-based Ste. Michelle Wine Estate owned 85% stake in the winery, and Piero Antinori, honorary president of Marchesi Antinori, acquired the remaining 15%. The 16-year partnership was a successful one, with continued outstanding quality wines, earning high ratings.
With sole ownership now in Antinori's hands, this iconic winery is once again family-owned.
At the heart of this renowned winery, are vineyards in the Stags Leap District AVA, including S.L.V. and FAY vineyards. Stag's Leap vineyards are sustainably farmed, and exceptional care is taken to express the character of the terroir in the grapes grown here.
The FAY Outlook and Visitor Center opened in 2014 to provide indoor and outdoor wine tastings with gorgeous panoramic views of FAY Vineyard and the Stags Leap Palisades.
You have a few choices for tours and tastings...
Take a look at the current offerings and prices on the website. You can book your experiences online.
The Round Room (shown above) is at the center of the caves you'll tour at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars.
As you tour the caves, you'll marvel at the 17th-century celestial paintings... magnificent kitchen and dining room...the winery's tribute to its winemakers...plus many more delights at every turn.
This winery takes part of its name from its wine region. The Stags Leap District is an American Viticultural Area in Napa Valley and is some of the most expensive agricultural real estate in the world. This pricey piece of the valley floor helps to produce the rich, full-bodied, complex red wines for which Napa Valley is known.
Best known for its estate-grown Cabernets (Cask 23, S.L.V., and Fay), Stag's Leap enjoys a distinguished reputation as a producer of world-class wines.
It was a 1973 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon, after all, that beat out France's finest...and did it again in a repeat taste test in 2006. This is a Cab that ages well!
You can sample some of the Estate's best in the tasting room (not that Cab -- a bottle of the '73 vintage is in the Smithsonian museum). However, you'll pay more to taste premium wines. (It's so worth it).
Here are a couple stellar reviews for these consistently fine cabs:
Open daily 10am - 4:00pm, with the exception of major holidays.
Reservations are required for all experiences. All visitors must be 21+