Jim Barrett, influential vintner from Los Angeles and inspiration for 'Bottle Shock', dies


Jim Barrett, a California vintner whose superb wines boosted the state's wine industry's international reputation, has died. He was 86.

Barrett died March 14, according to a statement from the Chateau Montelena Winery he refurbished in 1972. A cause of death was not given.

His most noted winemaking achievement – a 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that beat the French in a blind tasting called the Judgment of Paris in 1976 – was a watershed moment for California's wine industry, helping propel it into the powerhouse it is today.

The story of Barrett's winemaking achievement was told in the movie "Bottle Shock."

The Los Angeles attorney bought the dilapidated 19th Century winery, replanting cabernet sauvignon vines and growing the chardonnay he became famous for while waiting for the old vines to flourish.