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In 1976, a British wine merchant organized a blind tasting of a number of prominent French wines. On a whim, he threw in a number of California vintages as well, believing the "superior" French wines would dominate the competition.
Chateau Montelena, a Napa product, won the white wine category. The French judges were so enraged that one demanded her ballot back; the wine merchant was banned from French wine tastings for the next year as punishment and the event was vilified in the press.
Napa wines became famous.
Here's where it all began, down a dusty back road in the shadow of Mount St. Helena.