Grgich Hills Estate

Meet the Maker 2018

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Starting at $272 per person

Crafting wine is more art and intuition than science. You’ll hear wisdom like this, stories, and more—alongside a delicious perfectly paired California gourmet meal—from the winemaker of the legendary Grgich Hills Estate. It’s like going behind the scenes, without leaving the comfort of The Wine Train’s Private Reserve railcar.

For Groups of 10 or more submit an request or call 707.251.5210

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Everything winemaker Ivo Jeramaz knows about wine and winemaking he learned from a legend. He didn’t plan on becoming a winemaker, but when your uncle is the famed Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, it’s not surprising. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and the grape doesn’t fall far from the vine. Mike Grgich is the winemaker behind the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that was chosen by French judges at the celebrated “Paris Tasting” of 1976, beating out famous white Burgundies of France and putting California wines on the map. Ivo took enology and viticulture courses at University of California, Davis, but he learned more about wine and winemaking working in the vineyards and in the winery with his mentor, Mike. You might say, the art of great winemaking is a craft this family has perfected.

And here aboard our stylishly restored Private Reserve Pullman rail car, complete with deep navy velvet and saddle leather seats and mahogany tables, you will hear all about the artistry, passion, and history behind Grgich Hills Estate’s iconic wines. Ivo joins us onboard to introduce and describe the wine, tell stories, and make tableside visits between courses. Wine Train Chef Donald Young presents four impeccably paired gourmet culinary creations. Explore and discuss how these combined flavors elevate both the wine and food to a whole new level. Savor every sip and every bite as you relish an elegant train journey through the spectacular Napa Valley and the stunning twilight.

Meet the Maker

After being in the international spotlight from the 1976 Paris Tasting, winemaking legend Mike Grgich created Grgich Hills with Austin Hills and his sister, Mary Lee Strebl, from the Hills Bros. Coffee family, in 1977, and began producing what immediately became its signature wine: the exquisite, richly complex award-winning Chardonnays. While other Napa wineries dream bigger, Mike, along with his daughter, Violet, and his nephew, Ivo Jeramaz, prefer to stay small, focusing on improving the quality of their vineyards and their wines, year after year. Grigch Hills is committed to natural winegrowing and sustainability, farming its five estate vineyards without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, relying on wild yeast fermentation, and even switching to solar power in 2006. From beautiful grounds to historic cellars, Grgich Hills Estate remains family-owned and operated, practicing the art of winemaking by crafting food-friendly, balanced and elegant wines through natural winegrowing and sustainable practices.

Your Itinerary

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July 21, 2018

  • 3-hour evening rail tour of Napa Valley
  • 4-course gourmet dinner
  • A distinctive selection of wines from Grgich Hills Estate winery
  • Pairings and tasting notes with Grgich Hills winemakers
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    6:30 p.m. - Guest arrival

    6:45 p.m. - Wine Train and Grgich vintner welcome

    6:45 p.m. - Board the Train

    7:00 p.m. - Train departs

    7:00–9:15 p.m. - Dinner service

    10:00 p.m. - Train returns to McKinstry Street Station

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    2014 Chardonnay
    Pacific Smoked Salmon Mousseline, Hackleback caviar, dill crème fraiche, sea salt ciabatta toast

    2013 Zinfandel
    Honey-Chipotle BBQ Glazed Pork Belly, Anson Mills grits, roasted summer corn, pickled red onions, cracked mustard sauce

    2013 Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon
    Porcini Dusted Dry Aged New York Steak “Bistecca,” smoky bacon- cauliflower puree, forest mushrooms, charred broccolini, crispy shallots, cabernet reduction

    Violetta’s Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc
    Valley Peach Crostada, whipped chevre, sea salt caramel, pecan brittle