Rewriting California Wine’s ‘Herstory,’ From Judgment of Paris To Today

By Esther Mobley San Francisco Chronicle

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Esther Mobley takes a look at some of the hidden figures of California Wine Country: women who played large roles yet are rarely mentioned in the history books.

San Francisco Chronicle

Some of you may recall that, two years ago, I was getting pretty fed up with the bonanza surrounding the Judgment of Paris' 40th anniversary.

It's not that I don't believe that the 1976 event, in which California wines were judged superior to French Bordeauxs and Burgundies, wasn't an important moment. It was. But in the decades since that fateful tasting, the story has gotten twisted in so many different directions that it often now reads as fiction.

And all that was before I dove into the stories of Joanne DePuy and Patricia Gallagher-Gastaud.

As it turns out, the Judgment of Paris has its own set of hidden figures: women who played as large a role as anyone, yet are rarely mentioned in the history books. Gallagher-Gastaud came up with the whole idea for the Judgment of Paris.

DePuy introduced Steven Spurrier, who organized the tasting, to Chateau Montelena and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars -- and ended up transporting all of the wines from Napa to Paris herself when Spurrier's original plan fell through.

DePuy and Gallagher-Gastaud are not in "Bottle Shock." They're not in "Somm 3" (which premieres in San Francisco tonight). But they are now in The Chronicle! Read the main story, which is part of this Sunday's special Food section, built around the theme of matriarchy.

And California-wine history buffs should check out this bonus story on the little-known saga of Joanne DePuy's wine tour.

Did you know that, at the time of the Judgment of Paris, DePuy was in France with a group of vintners that included Andre Tchelistcheff, Andy Beckstoffer, Louis Martini, Margrit Biever Mondavi and Bob Travers? (I didn't. It's great.)

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