Chateau Montelena (http://www.montelena.com/), the historic Calistoga-based Napa Valley winery, has been placed on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places – the list of the country's historic places deemed most worthy of preservation.
The winery, part of the Napa Valley Historic Wineries tour next month, is being recognized for two periods of significance – between 1888-1920, when San Francisco entrepreneur Alfred Tubbs built and operated the 18,000 square foot stone winery and 1968-1976 after Jim Barrett purchased the property, and the winery subsequently helped put Napa Valley wines on the international map with its Chardonnay win at the 1976 Paris Tasting.
Initially Chateau Montelena applied to the National Register to obtain historical recognition for the stone winery Chateau, completed by Tubbs in 1888. As a rule, properties must be associated with events or developments that happened at least 50 years in the past to be considered. After researching the property in consideration of the initial application, the National Register of Historic Places decided to also include the second period of time as being historically significant due to the exceptional importance that Chateau Montelena played in building Napa Valley's reputation in the global wine industry in the late 1970s.
"We were not so presumptuous as to include any of the 1976 Paris Tasting history that took place under the Barrett Family stewardship. We had plans in place to update the interior of the historic building to a modern state-of-the-art winemaking facility. It's a great old building for winemaking and we wanted to make sure it lived on for many years to come, our story really was not part of that," said Bo Barrett, Master Winemaker at Chateau Montelena. "We were pretty stoked to see that our family's and the Montelena Team's contributions were deemed by others to be so historic in Napa Valley, California and U.S. history. I have to say it is a huge compliment and we all are extremely honored."
In 1882, Tubbs set out to improve the quality and reputation of Napa Valley's wines and soon built the stone winery Chateau, which offered constant cool temperatures and provided an appropriate cellar. The A.L. Tubbs Winery became an important force in promoting quality Napa Valley wines distributed throughout the country and the world. Following Prohibition, World War II, and new foreign tariffs, the wine industry fell into a decline. It was not until the 1976 Paris Tasting that Napa Valley wineries made a comeback. The continued development of the wine industry that started in Calistoga in the late nineteenth century and made its resurgence in the late 1970s showcases the importance of the historical designation of these two periods.
"The fact the application for A.L. Tubbs Winery became synonymous with Chateau Montelena makes a lot of sense when you stop and think about it," said Bo Barrett, Master Winemaker at Chateau Montelena. "In its 125 years, our family and the Tubbs' have shared a storied winemaking past in this Chateau. I don't reckon we'll be going back to the Tubbs name anytime soon, but maybe we'll call our Premiere Lot the 'A.L. Tubbs super-special blend!'"
About Chateau Montelena
Established in 1882 by Alfred Tubbs, Calistoga-based Chateau Montelena is credited for helping California wine earn worldwide recognition. In 1976, Chateau Montelena was one of two Napa Valley wineries to come out on top in a blind tasting held for a who's-who of the French wine and food establishment gathered at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Paris. Chateau Montelena produces Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Riesling varieties. Its celebrated tasting room is open daily from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The winery has been owned and operated by the Barrett Family since 1972. For more information on Chateau Montelena please visit: http://www.montelena.com.
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