A documentary produced by Croatian television about famous Napa Valley winemaker Mike Grgich, is set to open the 2012 Napa Valley Film Festival on 7 November at St. Helena’s Cameo Cinema in California.
“Like the Old Vine” is about the extraordinary life of Grgich, who left the Croatian village of Desne in Dalmatia in the 1950’s and headed for Napa Valley in America. Grgich has forged an impressive career in the winemaking industry in America, winning several prestigious awards and even being inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Vinter’s Hall of Fame. His 1973 vintage Chardonnay was selected for competition in the historic Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, where it was ranked the number one white wine.
Grgich is also the man behind Croatia being credited for the origins of the famous Californian zinfandel grape. Grgich noticed the similarities between the zinfandel red grape and of a grape back in his homeland Croatia when he first arrived in California. He told everyone he knew about his suspicions, and finally academics listened. Through DNA testing it was proved that the parent of zinfandel is an ancient grape of Croatia called crljenak kastelanski.