Napa Pioneer Warren Winiarski Dies at 95

The founder of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, who achieved legendary status by securing first place in the 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting and went on to be a leading light in the California wine industry has died.

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Warren Winiarski (Photo: Bob McClanahan)
Warren Winiarski (Photo: Bob McClanahan)

Warren Winiarski, co-founder of the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, one of the most respected wineries in the Napa Valley, passed away on June 7, 2024, at his home, at the age of 95 . Born in 1928 in Chicago, he initially pursued studies in the humanities before discovering his passion for wine. He gained fame by taking first place against leading Bordeaux and other Californians at Steven Spurrier's 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting with his 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon. His success, and that of the other US wines in the tasting helped to bring instant recognition to Napa Valley wines. 

In 2007, Warren Winiarski sold Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars to Ste. Michelle Vineyards and Antinori. In 2023, Antinori acquired Ste. Michelle's 85% stake. Until his passing, Winiarski remained active at his Arcadia Vineyards.

Winiarski was not only a winemaker but also a dedicated philanthropist who significantly contributed to preserving the agricultural beauty of Napa Valley. He is survived by three children and six grandchildren. The funeral will be held privately.

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