Legend of Stag’s Leap


Written by:

Joe Becerra

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legend of stags leap
legend of stags leap
Stag’s Leap – the craggy portion of the mountain

Legend of Stag’s Leap and the land of Cabernet Sauvignon

Stag’s Leap legend tells the tale that the Native Wappo would marvel at a stag that was able to make incredible leaps over the jagged rock formations pictured above. Specifically, the Wappo would witness the stag leaping over the u-shaped rock formation in the center of our photo above.

The stag’s leap was even more impressive when a full moon was situated just above the mountain—the stag’s silhouette against the moon and its impressive jump filtered through the land for many years. Today, the legend lives on in the names of two wineries and the AVA of Stag’s Leap established in 1989. The two wineries are Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Stag’s Leap Winery.

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is the more famous and well known because of its historic Cabernet victory in the 1976 Judgement of Paris. Warren Winiarski is one of Napa Valley’s legendary winemakers. His 1973 Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon was rated the top wine at the Judgement of Paris, besting a list that included Grand Cru Bordeaux wines. The results shocked the wine world and brought fame and fortune to the Napa Valley.

In 2007, Warren sold his winery to the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in the state of Washington and the Antinori Family of Italy.  In 2014, Stag’s Leap Cellars opened a beautiful visitor center and  tasting room facing the mountains and the vineyards below it. It is a dramatic and inspiring view of one of nature’s great works of art.  The Stag’s Leap Cellars tasting room is open daily from 10 to 4:30.  Check the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Website for tasting and touring choices.

Greeter at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars
The Greeter at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Stags Leap Winery has an origin date of 1893. The winery is now part of the Treasury Wine Estates. The Stags Leap Winery Website.

Wineries in Stags Leap District AVA

Take a ride along the Silverado Trail, where it begins at Trancas Street and head to the north. The first AVA is Oak Knoll. Oak Knoll gives way to the Stags Leap District AVA. The area is famous for Cabernet Sauvignon. The names of Shafer Vineyards, Pine Ridge, Clos du Val, and Odette Estate are all synonymous with high-quality AVA. See all the wineries in the Stags Leap District AVA.

Additional Napa Valley resources

  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.

2 thoughts on “Legend of Stag’s Leap”

    • How are things in Bordeaux? Are visitors allowed in wineries? Some tasting rooms are opening this month. It will surely be a different experience. Much of the tasting will be outdoors. Joe

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