advertisement

Croatian émigré and winemaking Hall of Famer Miljenko (Mike) Grgich (Grr-gitch) made his presence known to the world when his 1973 Chateau Montelena chardonnay bested the top French white burgundies at the famous 1976 Paris tasting. Since then, the master vintner teamed up with Austin Hills (of the Hills Bros. coffee fortune) and started this extremely successful and respected winery featuring estate-grown wines from organically and biodynamically farmed vineyards.

The ivy-covered stucco building isn't much to behold, and the tasting room is even less appealing, but people don't come here for the scenery: As you might expect, Grgich's chardonnays are legendary -- and priced accordingly. The smart buys are the outstanding zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon, which cost around $35 and $60, respectively. The winery also produces a fantastic fumé blanc for around $30 a bottle. Before you leave, be sure to poke your head into the barrel-aging room and inhale the divine aroma. Tastings cost $15 (which includes the glass). No picnic facilities are available.