The collection is divided into six series. It includes mostly printed materials and interviews, and dates from approximately 1976 to 2005. There are wine-related event materials, interview transcripts and audiotapes, printed material and histories from people and institutions representing a wide spectrum of the wine business. Wine-related objects, such vineyard and winery tools, are stored with the Museum's artifact collections; documentary materials are held in the Archives Center.
Materials from each special event are organized into separate series, which contain records generated at the events and interviews. Series one contains the "Red, White and American Records," series two the "Collectors Event," and series three the "Wine Writers Event." Interviews conducted independently of these events are included in series four. All of the interviews have been partially transcribed and include an abstract and various forms of audiotapes and discs. Series five is composed of printed materials that relate to both specific individuals in the wine business and to more general American wine topics. Most of this material consists of photocopies of original articles. There are also files with materials by and about specific wine writers, such as Anthony Dias Blue, William Heinz, and Dick Rosano. Series five also contains an original telex of George Taber's article about the 1976 Paris Tasting. Series six consists of visual materials, including two landscape photographs of an vineyard in Oregon and two videotaped documentaries on Napa.
The collection is arranged into seven series.
Series 1: Red, White, and American : Wine in American History and Culture Records, 1976-1996
Series 2: Collections Event, 2001
Series 3: Reflections: A Day in the Life of a Wine Writer Event, 2002
Series 4: Interviews, 1997-2001
Series 5: Printed Materials, 1997-2001
Series 6: Visual Materials, undated
Series 7; Interviews, 2013
Biographical / Historical:
The American Wine History Project began in 1996 with the intention to document the history of American winemaking, mainly for the post-1950 period. While the project includes winemaking areas around the country, the focus has been on northern and central California. The Project explores the convergence of craft, culture, science, technology, and the environment in modern American winemaking. In conjunction with the project, the Smithsonian held a 2-day symposium, "Red, White and American," with a small accompanying exhibition, entitled, "Doubtless as Good: Jefferson's Dream for American Wine Fulfilled," in 1996 and began gathering objects and other documentation.
Since 1997, National Museum of American History staff members have traveled to California to conduct interviews, take photographs and video footage, and gather materials for the Smithsonian collection from grape growers, winemakers, winery owners, and others important to the business, including wine writers and chefs. Some of the materials were generated from events in Napa, such as the collectors and wine writers events, that were held specifically for the purpose of adding documentation to the Smithsonian project. The documentation project is on-going so materials will continue to be added to the collection.
Some of the materials were generated by the Smithsonian Institution, such as those in series 1 through 3. Others were given by separate donors between 1996 and 2002.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
The collections documents the growth and development of the American wine industry, 1996-2002, using the Stag's Leap Wine Cellars as a case study. Materials include oral and video histories, photographs, business records, and printed materials.
Scope and Contents:
The Stag's Leap Wine Cellars (SLWC) Documentation Project was conducted by an inter-disciplinary team at the National Museum of American History. It is a part of a larger effort by the Museum's American Food and Wine team to document and interpret the changing ways in which Americans have produced, prepared, and consumed their food and drink, especially in the years after World War II. Team members are Nanci Edwards (Office of Project Management and former Collections Manager of the Museum's Agriculture Collection), John Fleckner (Senior Archivist, Archives Center), Rayna Green (Curator, Division of Home and Community Life), and Paula Johnson (Curator, Division of Work and Industry). Jeff Tinsley of the Smithsonian's Office of Photographic Services accompanied the team and shot many of the slides and color photographs.
This collection chronicles the growth and development of American viticulture and viniculture from its revival in the 1960s to the present. It offers a case study in the art and business of making fine wine from the bud to the bottle. Warren Winiarski, founder of SLWC in California's Napa Valley, is deeply interested in the legacy of American winemaking and his winery's place within its broader history. The Winiarski family has generously participated and financially supported the creation of this collection.
The documentation touches on all aspects of the wine business, including picking grapes in the vineyards, making wine in the cellar, marketing it from the business office, and promoting its sales in the tasting room and around the globe. SLWC employees describe the land, the work, the tools, the technical processes, the passions, and the motivations that create SLWC's world famous wines. The collection also provides insights into wider patterns of American immigration history, agricultural and environmental history, ethnic community development, land use in the West, product marketing, and consumerism.
The archival collection is mainly comprised of recorded oral history interviews, documentary photographs, and video footage created by the documentation team in 1997. It also includes company newsletters, vineyard and winery production data sheets, wine labels, and related printed materials collected in 1997 with additional materials added occasionally.
It is divided into seven series, including interviews and abstracts, audiotapes, photographs and slides, videotapes, business records, and printed materials.
Series 1: Interview Transcripts and Abstracts, 1997, 2003
Series 2: Oral History Interview Sound and Video Recordings, 1996-1997
Subseries 2.1: Sound Recordings, 1997
Subseries 2.2: Video Tapes, 1996-1997
Series 3: Photographs, circa 1960-2000
Series 4: Video Tapes, undated
Subseries 3.1: Family Photographs: circa 1960-1980
Series 7: Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Thirtieth Anniversary, 2003
Biographical / Historical:
The history of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars is a family history. It is also a story, in microcosm, of the development of Napa Valley, California as an international wine region and of the rising global acclaim for California wines. Building on the skills and knowledge of earlier Napa winemakers, Warren Winiarski became one of the most influential vintners in the region and his premium wines some of the most prized.
Winiarski arrived in Napa Valley in 1964 with his wife, Barbara, and their children. Like many Napa winemakers of this era, he left behind another career, in his case, an academic position at the University of Chicago to create a family business in a rural setting. At the time, Napa was just beginning to rebuild its reputation after Prohibition, a devastating vine disease, and the widespread production of cheap wines had soured the image of California wines. After apprenticing with several local winemakers, including Lee Stewart and Robert Mondavi, he purchased the land and winery that would become Stag's Leap Wine Cellars (SLWC) in 1972. Winiarski's choice of land was based, in part, Nathan Fay's success in growing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in an adjoining vineyard; Winiarski later added Fay's property to SLWC.
To commemorate the American bicentennial in 1976, a blind wine tasting at L'Academie du Vin in Paris pitted the best of America's new wines against French classics. Stunning the international wine community, many American wines outscored their French counterparts, with SLWC's 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon taking first place in its division. The accomplishment brought SLWC and Napa Valley worldwide recognition. It excited a great demand for California wines and a new appreciation for American winemaking techniques, which combined new scientific methods with Old World traditions.
The Paris Tasting added momentum to changes already underway in the cultural, financial, and physical landscape of the Napa Valley. It spurred the development of many new wineries, the expansion of acreage under grape cultivation, and the growth of the region's tourism industry. Stag's Leap Wine Cellars was an integral part of these transformations. It continues to play a vital role in the region and the wine industry.
Materials in the Archives Center
American Wine History Documentation Project Records, 1976-2002, Archives Center collection # 817, has recorded interviews, photographs, and other documentary materials created and collected by the American Food and Wine History team.
The Division of Work and Industry holds many artifacts from SLWC, including a wine barrel, grape picking knives, shovels, and other vineyard tools; lab equipment used in winemaking; wine bottles, labels, glasses, and other consumer products; and a bottle of the award winning 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon. See accessions: 1998.0181 and 1998.3058.
Collection is open for research. Only reference copies of audiovisual materials may be used.