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Now, "As I'm gracefully maturing -- not aging, maturing -- I feel that my American dream has come true. After 30 years, we are changing our name to Grgich Hills Estate," to signify that the winery now owns all the vineyards that provide it with grapes. "I have my own land, my own vines. We make the wines, we bottle them, we ship them, we sell them. I have a second generation in place: my daughter Violet has taken over the winemaking, and my nephew Ivo is taking my job in the vineyard. Both of them have been with me for over 20 years. And I have made three wines which I know were above average: the '69 Robert Mondavi Cabernet, the '73 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, and the first Chardonnay I made at Grgich Hills." (There is a twinkle in his eye as he says "above average," and it's not hard to guess way -- all three wines were heavily lauded, and the '73 Montelena was the Chardonnay that beat out France's great White Burgundies in the famous Paris Tasting of '76.)

After decades of wine-sitting and vineyard-walking, Grgich is finally "free to go around and see the world" and to host the occasional harborside tasting. "I have accomplished much more than you can find in books," he concludes. "I have accomplished that I am happy with what I have done, and I have made many other people happy, and I have made some good wines."

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