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Copyright © 2015
Forkmedia LLC

by Fred McMillin
for January 25, 2000


Top Bill Oakville


Ohioan Hamilton Walker Crabb founded the village of Oakville around 187O. He was one of the first to bring in French varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon.

Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon Today, the Oakville district produces California's two most famous Cabernets, Opus One and Martha's Vineyard Heitz.

The Rest of the Story

So if you want to produce a world-class Cab, where do you plant? Oakville, of course...except there's no land or vineyard available.

However, that was not the case in 1976. Ren and Marilyn Harris found fifty acres (30 of Cab) in 1976 and grabbed it...the Paradigm Vineyard (para-dime). They produced their first wine in 1991, a Cab of course. Hence, my panel was hardly suprised when they tried the 1996 vintage and found it to be among the best three or four California Cabs tasted in the last six months.

1996 Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon
Oakville, Napa Valley, CA.
Winemaker—Heidi Peterson Barrett. This U.C.-Davis grad also is involved in making those legendary Grace Family Cabs. I need say no more about her skills.
Contact—Elisa Fisher Harris, (707) 944-1683, Fax (707) 944-9328
Price—$44 range
Rating—My picky panel gave it a resounding EXCELLENT!


In 1890, there were only about 500 grape growers in the Napa Valley. As the largest producer, Hamilton Crabbe must have known them all. and who were one of the other 500 growers? None other than the Great Grandparents of Ren and Marilyn Harris!!

William Heintz's, Wine County
Diane Bulzomi—Research assistant.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


This page created January 2000