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Riki Rafner
Director of Media & Public Relations

For Immediate Release
Guest speakers available on request

September Soiree: A Benefit for The Commonwealth Club

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Judgment of Paris

SAN FRANCISCO (August 8, 2016Napa Valley wineries are some of the most important players in the global wine industry  — but this wasn’t always the case. To celebrate the 40 year anniversary of the momentous Judgment of Paris, The Commonwealth Club will host its first annual September Soirée at the historic Green Gables estate in Woodside.

This benefit tasting event will give individuals the chance to taste globally renowned wines from the winning Judgment of Paris wineries while supporting The Commonwealth Club. The winemakers, winery owners and vineyard specialists who helped put California wines on the map forty years ago will each personally speak about their experiences. Attendees will also enjoy a view of the breathtaking scenery of the Santa Cruz Mountains from the extravagant Green Gables estate, which is recognized as a National Historic place and was built by the famed architects Greene and Greene. Strolling through the elegant gardens and making their way from one winery’s tasting station to the next, attendees will have the rare opportunity to taste wines from the California wineries that participated in, and won, the Judgment of Paris, including Stag’s Leap, Chateau Montelena, Chalone, Veedercrest, Spring Mountain, Freemark Abbey, and a 2000 Monte Bello from Ridge, among others, all paired with gourmet small plates carefully chosen to accentuate these defining wines of California.

The Commonwealth Club chooses to celebrate this momentous event on its 40th anniversary year to offer the winemakers and winery owners a chance to tell their stories behind the triumph at the Judgment of Paris and the wines that started a renaissance in the Napa Valley, making it one of the premier wine regions of the world.


Date: Saturday, September 10, 2016

Time: 4:00 p.m. VIP Reception check-in; 5:00 p.m. Main event check-in.

Location: Green Gables, Historic Fleishhacker Estate in Woodside

Price: $250 for Members and $500 for Non-members

Tickets may be purchased below or by calling 415-597-6737.  For more information:

ABOUT THE HISTORIC FLEISHHACKER ESTATE IN WOODSIDE:  Located in Woodside, California, Green Gables is a seventy-five-acre estate that offers a glimpse of an era of country estates constructed by affluent Californians in the early 1900s.  One of these wealthy Californian elites was Mortimer Fleishhacker, a successful San Francisco banker and philanthropist.  Soon after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, he had decided that he wanted to build a summer home in the countryside for his family.  He hired Charles Greene of the renowned Pasadena architectural firm of Greene and Greene to plan the estate, which was fully completed in its construction in 1912.  Today, more than a century later, Green Gables has survived California’s ever-changing landscape.  Still the home to the Fleishhacker family, it remains a unique and unified ensemble of home and garden that blends English and Italian architectural traditions.

JUDGMENT OF PARIS: The 1976 Judgment of Paris was a turning point for the California wine industry. A transplanted Englishman living in Paris, Steven Spurrier, organized a wine competition which would pose the best of the best French wines against their supposedly inferior California counterparts in a blind taste test judged by French wine experts. Nobody suspected that the Californians would fare well against the old world elegance of French wine – even Spurrier himself. As portrayed in the 2008 film “Bottle Shock,” starring the late legendary British actor Alan Rickman and “Star Trek” star Chris Pine, the unthinkable happened and the California wines won. The success reverberated around the world, bringing credibility to New World Wines. In the words of Jim Barrett, owner of Chateau Montelena in 1976, who produced the winning Chardonnay “not bad for kids from the sticks.”

ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH CLUB:  Founded in 1903, The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation’s largest and most active public affairs forum, with about 22,000 members.  Based in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the Club hosts over 450 conversations, town hall meetings, lectures, performances and discussions each year on issues of regional, national and international significance.  At least one million people hear The Commonwealth Club’s weekly radio broadcasts on more than 230 stations across the country. The Club hosts Climate One, a dialogue on climate change, and the program series Inforum. The Club is temporarily located at 555 Post Street in San Francisco.  The Club’s new headquarters is currently under construction at 110 The Embarcadero in San Francisco.

For more information