napa wine stars


Mar 11, 2024Jason Wagg

Napa Valley is the epicenter of the California wine scene and Cabernet Sauvignon is its star varietal. This is due in part to one Winemaker, Andre Tchelistcheff, who arrived in Napa in 1938 and is considered the most influential post-prohibition winemaker in America. Get to know some other superstar Napa Winemakers who burnish the fame of this region.

Since 1990, we have helped support thousands of artisan winemakers by sharing their handcrafted wines with you. Enjoy this look at a few of the Napa Superstar Winemakers we have shared with members over the years.

Heidi Barrett – The Original Cult Winemaker Dubbed ‘the First Lady of Wine’ and ‘the Queen of Cult Cabernet’ by Robert Parker Jr., Heidi has made many of Napa’s most sought-after and cult classic wines. She crafted the 1992 Screaming Eagle that fetched a record-setting $500,000 at the 2000 Auction Napa Valley. New releases sell for $8,000+ (if you can find them).

Miljenko “Mike” Grgich
This humble immigrant from Croatia changed the trajectory of California wine.

  • Crafted the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, deemed the finest white wine in the world at the 1976 Judgement of Paris.
  • Members have enjoyed his wines from Grgich Hills Estate.

Genevieve Jansenss
Recipient of the coveted Medal of Officier du Mérite Agricole from the French government.

  • The Chief Winemaker at Robert Mondavi Winery, she was also responsible for several vintages of Opus One.
  • Members received her wines when we featured her personal brand, Portfolio Limited Edition.

Philippe Melka
Known as the “Titan of Terroir,” his resume includes a stint at Bordeaux’s famed Chateau Petrus.

  • His first (of many) 100-point wines was the 2007 Dana Estates Lotus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Members have enjoyed his wines crafted at Roy Estate, Andis Wines, Moone Tsai, and Lail Vineyards.

Nils Venge
The “King of Cab,” and one of the foremost pioneers of the Napa Valley wine industry.

  • Crafted the first American wine to receive a 100-point rating from Robert Parker Jr.
  • Members have enjoyed gems from his personal winery, Saddleback Cellars.

Thomas Rivers Brown
A highly sought-after winemaker and consultant for dozens of esteemed wineries.

  • The recipient of 25 perfect 100-point scores from Robert Parker Jr.
  • Members enjoyed his wine when we featured THE GRADE Cellars.

Julien Fayard
From France, he worked at Lafite Rothschild before relocating to Napa Valley where he refined his style under the tutelage of Philippe Melka.

  • Members have tasted his wines crafted at Patel Winery and Krupp Brothers Wines.
  • Awarded 100 points from Antonio Galloni, of Vinous, for his 2018 Sleeping Lady Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

About The California Wine Club

Discover great wine with The California Wine Club. Since 1990, it’s been our wine club’s mission to help artisan wineries share their small-batch wines with wine enthusiasts everywhere. At The California Wine Club we happen to think these wines simply taste better than the mass-produced wines that dominate store shelves. Signature Series members will enjoy  Elkhorn Peak Cellars’ 2018 Estate Grown Reserve Napa Valley Pinot Noir their next delivery.

We visit the wineries, meet the families and winemakers behind the wines and then invite them to share their favorite wines with our wine club members. Every wine featured in our wine of the month club comes from a real-working winery.

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