Napa Valley winemaker Warren Winiarski—whose Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon was one of two California wines to take top honors at the Judgment of Paris Tasting of 1976—was inducted into the California Hall of Fame Tuesday night, alongside poet, Gary Snyder, NFL quarterback, Jim Plunkett, filmmaker, Steven Spielberg, and others. His bottle of the Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon is part of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s permanent collection.
“Winiarski is the living embodiment of the California dream… [He] became one of California’s most inspirational and renowned winemakers,” said Mike Thompson, the congressman for California’s 5th District that includes Napa Valley. “Winiarski’s contribution can be seen and felt every day by all those people whose livelihoods are tied to the Napa County’s winemaking industry…and the countless number of people around the world who for more than 50 years have enjoyed a glass of Mr. Winiarski’s handwork.”
Winiarski, 89, is the second wine-industry veteran to be inducted into the state’s Hall of Fame (the first was Robert Mondavi, in 2006). In a prepared statement for the ceremony at the California Museum in Sacramento, Winiarski said he would accept the honor on behalf of all the state’s winemakers.
“I have made it part of my life’s work to preserve Napa Valley, which I consider a National treasure, with land conservation, world-class wine and cataloging its historical significance,” Winiarski said. “It’s not enough to make fine wine; we can be stewards of this land that gives us the opportunity.”
Winiarski will receive the “Spirit of California” medal from the state’s governor, Jerry Brown, is credited with helping put Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon on the map.