Our Story

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is a Napa Valley estate rooted in the legends of the Stags Leap District and Napa Valley’s ascent to global wine recognition.

the legendary
Judgment of Paris

It was a historic achievement at the 1976 Judgment of Paris blind tasting where Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded the highest honor in the red wine category above First Growth Bordeaux Chateaux. That moment solidified the illustrious fate of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars as a worldly icon in wine.

judgment of paris

The 1976 Judgment of Paris had a revolutionary effect, “like a vinous shot heard round the world.”

Estate Winner - Paris Tasting, 1976

Our History

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars was established in 1970 with the purchase of the S.L.V. vineyard. Only six years later, the 1973 S.L.V. Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded the highest honor at the Judgment of Paris blind tasting, besting First Growth Bordeaux Chateaux. This achievement solidified Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and the Napa Valley as places that crafted world-class wines.

Today, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is a quality benchmark for California Cabernet Sauvignon. It offers unrivaled Napa Valley wine experiences where guests enjoy first-rate hospitality and expansive vineyard overlooks that are perfectly paired with some of the most widely-recognized and coveted Napa Valley wines in the world.

view our historical timeline

Our Team

At Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, we have perfected the art of winegrowing and winemaking in Napa Valley and have continued to push the boundaries of impeccable vineyard and winemaking practices.

The vineyard team, led by Kirk Grace, ensures that the vineyards live in harmony with the natural environment surrounding them; they promote a healthy ecosystem in which the vineyards and local flora and fauna thrive. Head winemaker Marcus Notaro and his team produce inimitable Stags Leap District and Napa Valley wines of classic beauty from the attentively and meticulously farmed vines.

Each wine culminates from the diligent vineyard work, distinct Napa Valley terroir, and talented craftsmanship in the cellar—offering unparalleled quality, remarkable distinction, true terroir character, and a deep sense of Napa Valley history and legacy.

Marcus Notaro
Head Winemaker

Marcus has honed his craft of making Cabernet Sauvignon with Old World techniques and New World innovations. His passion for producing wines with ripeness and restraint drew him to Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, which he joined in 2013 after nearly two decades of Cabernet Sauvignon winemaking experience. Incorporating this winemaking style with showcasing terroir and varietal typicity yields a portfolio of coveted and collectible Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars wines. As head winemaker, Marcus manages the winemaking process from grape to bottle, works with vineyard managers and grape growers, and oversees all winemaking practices and blending trials.

Guillermo Perez
Senior Vineyard Manager

Guillermo comes from a long lineage of farmers and is the fifth generation in his family to pursue the profession. Before coming to Napa, Guillermo interned with renowned professor José Ramón Lissarrague in the Viticulture Lab; he also completed a six-month internship at Thibaut Scholasch from Fruition Sciences in the Languedoc. Once in Napa, Guillermo interned at Etude Winery, worked as a viticulturist at Trefethen Family Vineyards, and joined Treasury Wine Estates as assistant vineyard manager. He accepted the vineyard manager position at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in 2020 and was promoted to senior vineyard manager in 2023. Guillermo works closely with the director of vineyard operations, Kirk Grace, and oversees the California Certified Organic Farming (CCOF) vineyard certification process, expected to be completed by 2024.

Jorge Ramirez
Jorge Ramirez Perez

Jorge works closely with Marcus and the vineyard team to ensure Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars crafts exceptional wine. He was promoted to winemaker in 2021, where he now reports directly to head winemaker Marcus Notaro, and oversees the laboratory in addition to other winemaking responsibilities. He has a Master’s Degree in Enology & Viticulture from Fresno State University and joined Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars as a Lab Supervisor in 2014.

Luis Contreras
Luis Contreras

Luis has worked at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars for over 25 years. He began as a temporary bottling worker in 1996 for two years, then spent eight years as a cellar worker before becoming cellar master in 2006. Luis was promoted to winemaker in 2023. Luis monitors the vineyards throughout the various stages of vine development, participates in wine tastings with head winemaker Marcus Notaro, and is actively involved in all aspects of the estate’s Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc winemaking. He also monitors the red grape processing and fermentations and oversees all cellar and bottling operations.