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The Day California Wines Came of Age

Much to France's chagrin, a blind taste test 25 years ago in Paris inadvertently launched California's fine wine industry

By Thane Peterson

Sometimes a seemingly inconsequential event can take on huge significance in a nation's commercial and cultural life. We're coming up on the 25th anniversary of one such event -- a wine tasting that took place in Paris on May 24, 1976. Long since forgotten by most people, the occasion is being commemorated in Napa Valley as a signal event in the development of California's wine industry. A celebratory dinner in Yountville later this month is expected to attract 1,000 wine industry luminaries.