Jul 11, 2009-
Jul 12, 2009
12:00AM - 12:00AM
The James Beard Foundation Presents Legends of Wine IV Honoring the Barrett Family of Chateau Montel
A weekend of wine tastings, wine dinners and an exclusive vineyard tour, hosted by chef/owner Ken Frank of La Toque
Chateau Montelena
Event Description

On July 11-12, 2009 the James Beard Foundation will honor one of the most respected winemaking families in the world—the Barrett Family of the acclaimed Chateau Montelena—at the culinary non-profit’s fourth annual Legends of Wine fundraising event in Napa Valley, CA.  Hosted by chef/owner Ken Frank of La Toque at the Westin Verasa in Napa, Legends of Wine is a weekend of special wine tastings and exclusive wine dinners celebrating Jim and Bo Barrett and Chateau Montelena.  Proceeds from the event will benefit the James Beard Foundation and the La Toque Scholarship in Wine Studies.


“With Legends of Wine we recognize influential professionals within the wine industry,” says Legends of Wine Chairman George Sape. “We are thrilled to be honoring the Barrett Family who have consistently garnered top accolades from the world’s wine experts year after year.”


When Jim Barrett came to the Napa Valley in 1972, he discovered the empty stone chateau and the dilapidated vineyards of Chateau Montelena at the northern end of Napa Valley and decided that it was the perfect place to realize his dream of starting a world class winery. Jim restored most of the original vineyards and completely refurbished the winery, completing the “rebirth” of Chateau Montelena, a winery first established in 1882.  Jim’s son, James P. "Bo" Barrett, began his career in the wine industry when his family purchased Chateau Montelena.  He spent the summer of 1972 pulling star thistle in the old vineyard and picking up rocks in preparation for replanting.  He became the winemaker at Chateau Montelena Winery in 1982.


In 1976 Chateau Montelena put California at the forefront of the wine world. That year a who's who of the French wine and food establishment gathered for a grand tasting at the InterContinental Hotel in Paris. Four white Burgundies were tasted against six California Chardonnays. When the scores were tallied, the French Judges were convinced that the top-ranking white wine was one of their own. In fact, it was Chateau Montelena's 1973 Chardonnay that rated above all the other wines.  The results proved that Chateau Montelena could produce some of the world's finest wines, and that California's wine industry had come of age.


Legends of Wine creator and coordinator Ken Frank began working in restaurants in France at age sixteen and later perfected his culinary craft at some of Los Angeles’ best restaurants. Frank is considered a founding chef of the 1970’s “California Cuisine” movement.  His cooking was acclaimed at the original La Toque, he ran the award-winning Fenix at the Argyle, and then moved north to make his Michelin-starred Napa iteration of La Toque a must-stop destination for serious wine and food lovers. The Napa Valley La Toque celebrated its tenth anniversary in September 2008, coinciding with its move to the luxuriously rustic Westin Verasa in downtown Napa.




Legends of Wine Itinerary

Saturday, July 11:

Tasting, Tour and Lunch –12:00 PM at Chateau Montelena, Calistoga, CA for 24 guests A morning visit to Chateau Montelena—known as one of the most beautiful wineries in California—for an intimate, personal library tasting with Jim and Bo Barrett, including:

·         A flight of Chardonnays going back 15 years, with older vintages poured from magnums (1993, 1997, 2001, 2004, and 2007).

·         A tasting of Estate Cabernets, organized using the unique Barrett philosophy of tasting according to yearly weather patterns:

Cooler: 1982, 1995, 2000
Warmer: 1987, 1996, 2003
Just right: 1986, 1997, 2001

The visit will also include an exclusive winery lunch with Jim and Bo Barrett, prepared by Ken Frank.


Chef á Table Dinner – 7:00 PM at La Toque, Napa, CA

A fun and informal dinner presented by chef/owner Ken Frank with great food and wine country luminaries sharing their favorite bottles.


Sunday, July 12:

Gala Dinner – 6:00 PM at La Toque, Rutherford, CA for 70 guests

Guests will be treated to a world-class dinner, paired with sumptuous wines, prepared by Ken Frank and a fantastic line-up of guest chefs, including: JBF Award Winner Sanford D’Amato of Sanford in Milwaukee, WI; JBF Award Winner Stephen Durfee of The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, CA; Neal Fraser of Grace in Los Angeles, CA; and JBF Award Winner Michel Richard of Citronelle in Washington, D.C.


The full VIP package, which includes all of the above events, is $1,500 per person ($1,000 can be taken as a tax-deductible charitable donation).  Reservations for only the gala dinner on Sunday, July 12, are $500 per person ($300 can be taken as a tax-deductible charitable donation).  Reservations can be made by calling 707.257.5157


The Westin Verasa (, Legends of Wine host hotel, will provide a complimentary upgrade to each of its Legends of Wine guests. Westin Verasa guests will also receive a welcome gift from chef Ken Frank. Transportation by luxury motorcoach from the Westin Verasa to Chateau Montelena for the winery tour, tasting, and lunch is also included.


For more information, visit:


About the James Beard Foundation

Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation is dedicated to celebrating, preserving, and nurturing America’s culinary heritage and diversity in order to elevate the appreciation of our culinary excellence. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, James Beard, who died in 1985, was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. Today, the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships to culinary schools, and publications, and by maintaining the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit Find insights on food at the James Beard Foundation’s blog Delights & Prejudices. Join the James Beard Foundation on Facebook. Follow the James Beard Foundation on Twitter.


About Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena was first established in 1882, and by 1886 it was the 7th largest winery in Napa Valley, well known for its quality.  The winery had been substantially abandoned when the Barrett family acquired it in 1972 and revitalized it as one of Napa Valley’s great wine estates, celebrated for its exceptional terroir.  Under the leadership of Jim Barrett Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon has consistently garnered top accolades from the world’s wine experts, notable for its consistency of style and grace from year to year.  Also famous for its Chardonnay, the winery’s 1973 vintage won the famous international wine tasting known as “The Judgment of Paris,” which put the Napa Valley on the map as a world-class winemaking region.

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Fee: $500.00

Contact Information
Name: Reservation Department     Email:
Phone: 212-627-2308




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