Top California winemaker visits Cayman

California’s Grgich Hills Estate is well-known and enjoyed in Cayman for its distinctive quality wines, so a recent visit from Violet Grgich herself, hosted by Jacques Scott at The Wharf was welcomed with excitement by those in the trade. Business Editor, Lindsey Turnbull reports.

The history

Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, the patriarch of the Grgich family arrived in the Napa Valley in 1958, fleeing from communist rule in his native Yugoslavia (now Croatia) via West Germany and Canada. A pioneer of the California wine industry, Mike Grgich gained international recognition during the famous Paris Tasting of 1976 when, during a blind tasting by some of the most prestigious French wine connoisseurs, his 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was voted the best white wine in the world. This made the world sit up and take notice of California winemakers and paved the way for California’s wine industry.

Grgich Hills Estate took off when Mike teamed up with Austin Hills, creating a new winery in 1977, and it began producing consistently great wines that age beautifully and are drunk at some of the most formal occasions internationally (as well enjoyed at home here in Cayman!). Mike still works at the winery at the age of 85, along with his daughter, Violet, and his nephew, Ivo Jeramaz.

Violet made a brief visit to Cayman recently while on a cruise touring the Caribbean and giving wine demonstrations on board, at the invitation of Jacques Scott. The Wharf provided a perfect backdrop to tasting some of Grgich Hills Estates best loved wines.