Grgich Hills Estate celebrates the 35th anniversary of The Great Chicago Chardonnay Showdown

In 1980 “The Great Chicago Showdown” brought together 221 of the best Chardonnays from around the world.  Chardonnays from France, California, New York and even Bulgaria were collected for a historic first, the largest blind tasting of that time of one single varietal. The first vintage that Miljenko “Mike” Grgich crafted at Grgich Hills, his 1977 Chardonnay, emerged triumphant with a first place ribbon and the Chicago Tribune called it “The best Chardonnay in the world”!  With this win so close on the heels of the famous 1976 Paris Tasting, where the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that Mike made took first place over some of the best French white Burgundies and American Chardonnays, he soon became affectionately known as the “King of Chardonnay.”

In 2015, Grgich Hills Estate will celebrate the 35th anniversary of this historic tasting and its legacy in Chardonnay with vintner dinners across the country, a photo contest, a new mobile application launch and much more, all culminating into two festive gala dinners. The first will be in Chicago on May 7, 2015 and the second in the Napa Valley at the winery on May 16, 2015.  Mike Grgich believes this is a significant event not just for Chicago and Grgich Hills but for all of America since it proves that “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

Grgich Hills will launch “The Great Chicago Chardonnay Showdown” celebration starting on January 15, 2015. “This is a great opportunity for our winery not only to celebrate my father’s many accomplishments but also Chardonnay, a varietal that is enjoyed and loved by so many people,” says Violet Grgich.  As Mike explains, “There is no scientific formula for making great wines.  You make wines with your heart. You pour your love into them and nurture them like children, and transmit to them the richness of your spirit.”  That philosophy is the very heartbeat of Grgich Hills Estate.

The winery is partnering with publications such as Robb Report, Chicago Tribune, Saveur Magazine, Modern Luxury Publication Group, and Food & Wine Magazine to unveil this great celebration. In addition, Grgich Hills will launch the “Taste the Legacy Photo Contest,” where consumers are encouraged to engage with the winery via social media and upload their best photos while enjoying Grgich Hills Estate wines. Each month will feature a different theme with the chance for consumers to win prizes on a monthly basis. The Grand Prize winner will win the ultimate grand prize – a trip to the beautiful Napa Valley for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Grgich Hills Estate winery and a private dinner with Mike and Violet Grgich.

This year we are celebrating the 35th anniversary of this historic tasting with events around the country, including a gala at the winery.

May 16, 2015  Great Chicago Chardonnay Showdown Gala Celebration

Join Miljenko “Mike” Grgich and daughter Violet Grgich for this festive gala celebrating Grgich Hills Chardonnay and this historic event with an unforgettable evening of wine, food and friends.

  • Grgich Hills Estate, Rutherford, CA.
  • Multi-course dinner paired with current and vintage Grgich Hills Estate wines.
  • Caterer: Cindy Pawlcyn’s Mustards Grill
  • Entertainment by Ever Music, a local Swing Jazz band with special guest performer, Tony Butala, founding member of The Lettermen.

6:30 – 7:30 Reception

7:30 Dinner

  •  Attire:   Jackets and Cocktail attire: fedoras, bow ties and pearls encouraged

Taste the Legacy, and join Grgich Hills Estate for this wonderful celebration!

Purchase tickets here