Napa Valley, northern California, is the place where the best wines in America are made. One of the most famous winemakers in the area is Miljenko (Mike) Grgich. After received an award for his wine in Paris, in 1976, he became world famous. He is a member of the American Culinary institute, and was inducted into the winemakers Hall of Fame. His wine was served in the White House, particularly during the time of Ronald Reagan.
Thanks to Grgić, it was established that Zinfandel arrived to America from the Croatian coast. In one of Maleš’s books, he had read that Zinfandel and plavac mali were the same strain, so he requested a DNA analysis from Davis University. After Croatian scientists got involved in the research, it was established that the DNA of Zinfandel is identical to that of Crljenak Kaštelanski.
Miljenko Grgich was born in 1923, in Desne, which is a part of the Kula Norinska municipality, in the Neretva valley. He studied at the Faculty of Agriculture in Zagreb, and went to Germany and Canada in 1945. When he arrived in Napa Valley in 1958, Grgich barely spoke a word of English, and had a total of 32 dollars hidden in a shoe. At the time, people grew plums and nuts in the area, and raised cattle. The Los Angeles Times wrote about how quickly things changed there during that time, and that Grgich was one of the people who drove that change.
Mike Grgich and his nephew Ivo Jeramaz with a bottle of wine made for Grgich’s 90th birthday.