Major Milestone for California Wines

Mar. 18, 2019


Wine is like real estate: location is key, because great locations produce great wines. One location, in particular, is the Stags Leap District in Napa Valley, which was recognized 30 years ago as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) thanks to its centuries-long tradition of producing world-renowned wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon wines which changed the entire course of American winemaking. 

This year, we celebrate the region’s wonderful milestone and congratulate the incredible winegrowers of the Stags Leap District.


A History of Wins

Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the Stags Leap District are world famous, having been instrumental in establishing the quality of American wines at the legendary “Judgement of Paris” in 1976. In a bold maneuver to gain respect and prestige on the world stage, a selection of American wines was pitted against the best of French wines in a blind taste test before nine French judges. In a major upset, the American wines came out on top, led by the 1973 Stags’ Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, beating out iconic pillars of French winemaking such as Mouton-Rothschild and Haut Brion.

In a rematch worthy of a Rocky film, the same wines were pitted against each other again ten years later, with first prize going to the 1972 Clos Du Val Cabernet Sauvignon, yet another wine from the Stags Leap District. Three years later, the region was formally recognized as an AVA for its incredible achievements in Cabernet Sauvignon production, a tradition dating back to the 1800s.


The Dirty Details

The Stags Leap District is located within the greater Napa Valley AVA, just six miles north of the city of Napa, CA. The district has the unique distinction of being the first appellation to be designated due to its unique terroir characteristics. Its particular soil is as rich and intriguing as the wines it produces, including loam and clay sediments, courtesy of the Napa River, as well as volcanic soil deposits from the slow erosion of the Vaca Mountains. 

As early as the 1870s, the soil was attracting grape growers, but it was not until the 1960s that Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were able to take root in the ideal soil found in the Stags Leap District, by forward-thinking grower Nathan Fay. Grapes planted in the area benefited from cool Pacific breezes, long, dry summer days in addition to the unique mineral aspects of the region’s soil. The resulting grapes were lush, with soft tannins with complex layers of flavor.


Growing for the Future

Today, Stags Leap District is home to 17 different wineries, producing a wide array of Cabernet Sauvignon and other rich red wines. These American reds are prized among consumers for their rich, complex flavors and attainable price points. At Breakthru, we are proud to partner with wineries from this storied region, such as Chimney Rock, Clos Du Val, Pine Ridge, Silverado, and Stags’ Leap. Talk to your Breakthru Sales Consultant to find out more about their portfolios and how they can help grow your wine sales.
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