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Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars opens $7m visitor centre

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars has opened a $7m visitor centre that allows tourists to sample wines while looking out across the vineyard that delivered the estate's victory against Bordeaux in the 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting.

A view from the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars tasting room

Several key figures from the renowned Paris tasting were present for the opening ceremony, including Decanter consultant editor Steven Spurrier and the Napa estate’s founder and winemaker from that period, Warren Winiarski.

It took several years to perfect designs for the visitor centre. Barcelona-based designer Javier Barba worked alongside local architect Dan Macdonald on the project, and building work began in July 2013.

Nearly 15m people visit California‘s wine regions every year, according to the state’s Wine Institute, and the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars team hopes to attract a greater share of them.

Visitors can tase the estate’s wines with a view of its SLV and FAY vineyards. It was an SLV Cabernet Sauvignon 1973 that won in 1976.

The 6,000 square-foot visitor centre was constructed using stone excavated from the estate and the building was designed to fit in with the local landscape, according to the property’s joint owners, Ste Michelle Wine Estates and Marchesi Antinori.

Ted Baseler, president of Ste Michelle Wine Estates, said the aim was ‘to give our customers a tasting experience worthy of the world-class wines being produced here’.

Read a regional profile of the Stags Leap Wine District American Viticultural Area in the November issue of Decanter magazine, available from 1 October.

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Written by Chris Mercer

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