by Fred McMillin
for June 25, 1999


Winery of the Week

Bargains Galore


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.

Monterey Vineyard 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
Location—In the Salinas Valley near the town of Gonzales, 25 miles inland from Monterey Bay.
Winery's Land—On Sept. 20, 1836, the Mexican government granted Teodoro Gonzales the land where the town and the winery are located today.
Vineyards—The huge Paris Valley Ranch vineyard covers ONE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED acres in the San Lucas appellation, south Salinas Valley.
Contact—Office of Joe Gargiulo, (800) 709-7667, Fax (707) 255-1119.

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."

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


WineDay Annex

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