[Winiarski Picture]

Warren Paul Winiarski


Born Chicago, IL, Oct. 22, 1928; son of Stephen and Lottie (Lacki) W.; married Barbara Ann Dvorak; children: Catherine Elizabeth, Stephen.

Education: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), St. John's College, Maryland, 1952; University of Florence, Italy 1954-55; Master of Arts (M.A.), University Chicago, 1964.

Languages: Polish, Italian, English.

Career: Lecturer, University of Chicago, 1954-64; Cellarman-Original Souverain Winery, Napa, CA 1964-66; assistant winemaker, Robert Mondavi Winery, Napa, CA 1966-68; vineyard / winery consultant, Napa, Sonoma, CO, 1968-70; founder / vineyardist - SLV, Napa, CA 1970-, founder / winemaker, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars.

Awards and honors: Numerous vintage awards and honors.

Author: Contributing author, History of Political Philosophy, 1963 first edition, Strauss and Cropsey editions, Rand McNalley; contributing author, Wines and Vines Magazine, "Hierarchy of Wine duality," 1986, contributing author, Decanter Magazine, International. Congress of Wine Quality, "The Old World and the new Worlds Apart?," 1988.

Member of: Knights of the Vine, Supreme Knight 1986-, International Wine and Spirit Competition, sponsor, judge, chairman, Surrey, England 1983-, American Society of Enologists, Board directors. 1982-, chairman on the committee for subappellations 1987-, Wine Institute, 1972-, Rules and Regulations Committee 1980-, Vinters CIub San Francisco, Orange County Wine Society Orange County, CA, Napa Valley Grape Growers Association, Napa, CA, International Wine and Food Society, San Francisco, chairman 1988-, Napa Agricultural Preservation Action Committee (NAPAC).

Avocations: world-wide travel.

Resident: Napa, CA.

From: "Polish Americans in California, Vol. II," National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs & Polish American Historical Association. California 1995.

Warren Winiarski

Internationally prominent in winemaking

by Gene Harubin Zygmont

Warren Winiarski gained international prominence as a winemaker in 1976, when his 1973 Stag Leap Cabernet Sauvignon took top honors in a blind wine tasting in Paris. The elite panel of French wine professionals compared top rated French wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy with several California Cabernets and declared Winiarski's wine to be the best. It was an incredible feat for a small little known winery in only its second year of winemaking. But, perhaps not, when one realizes that the name Winiarski means "from the wine" or "winemakers son."

Winiarski was born November 22, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois to Polish American parents, Lottie (Lacki) and Stephen Winiarski. He received a B.A. from St. John's College, Maryland (1952) then studied political history and theory at the University of Florence in Italy where he learned to appreciate wine. Upon his return to the Unites States, he continued graduate studies and lectured on political science at the University of Chicago. He also began to make wine at home as his father had done. During this time, he and his wife Barbara began to think of farming as an alternative to city life, one which would allow their children to participate in a family endeavor.

So, in 1964, the Winiarski family moved to California where he began an apprenticeship at Souverain Cellars. After two seasons at Souverain where he cleaned out tanks and did all manner of menial work, he became an assistant winemaker to Robert Mondavi. He also worked on his home wines in the evenings, honing his skills for the day when he would have his own winery. During this time he searched for a vineyard site which would produce the right grapes for an outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

In 1970, he found a parcel adjacent to a well known vineyard whose soil location and climate were ideal for the type of Cabernet grapes he wished to grow. He, Barbara and the children, Catherine, Stephen and Julia all shared in planting, irrigating and training the new vines. In 1972, Warren found a winery site close to the vineyard and called it Stag's Leap, after an out cropping of rock which overlooks it. The first bottling was in 1972 and the next year's harvest made oenological history at the Paris tasting.

Since that time Winiarski's wines have continued to garner awards and medals. Stag's Leap wines have been served by President Reagan at State dinners, celebrations and summit meetings in Geneva, Reykjavik and Washington D.C. They have been served to Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and Chief Justice Burger, among others.

From: Polish Americans in California, vol. II. National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs & Polish American Historical Association. California 1995.