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by Fred McMillin
Winery of the Week
The New York Times, April 2,1975—The Monterey region south of San Francisco has come in for some almost overpowering publicity recently, much of it centered around a brand new winemaking venture called, of all things, Monterey Vineyard.
The new venture has pots full of money, huge acreage, plans for a handsome winery, and a famous winemaker, Richard Peterson. Dr. Peterson made his reputation as Andre Tchelistcheff's successor as winemaker at Beaulieu in the Napa Valley. The winery president is Gerald Asher [now one of America's best wine writers]
[With these top guns] the publicity reads, "Every wine lover in America is breathless, wondering how good the Monterey Vineyard wines are going to be.".......... (End of N.Y. Times quote.)
On June 16,1975—I tasted the '74 Chardonnay; rating—RECOMMENDED.
The Rest of the Story
Well, the wines were so good that Seagram bought the operation in 1983. How are they doing? Savy public relations expert Joe Gargiulo tells me everything is A-OK at Monterey. Who can disagree with sales now over 700,000 cases a year.
Critic James Laube states the reason for their success: "Good quality and SOUND VALUES." By sound values, all the major varietals I've seen were priced at only SEVEN dollars...Merlot, Chardonnay, etc. The $7 dollar Cabernet Sauvignon just won a RECOMMENDED BEST BUY from my panel.
Just the Facts
The Monterey Vineyard Winery
Postscript—This Is For The Birds
The birds like the Paris grapes as much as the winemakers. I have a 1993 letter from the vineyard manager saying, "I've never seen so many birds! On one tract that is completely covered with netting, they've actually been successfully DIVING at the seams and getting in to reach the fruit."
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Welcome to WineDay, the electronic Gourmet Guide's daily update. Monday through Thursday, WineDay presents a wine profile. Then on Fridays we present the Winery of the Week to take you through the weekend.
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