For many of the Cali wines, 1972 was a very, very good year—in retrospect, the one that put Napa and its surroundings on the map and changed vinicultural history forever. As Forbes contributor Larry Olmstead recounts, “It took a bumper crop of Napa Valley visionaries to show the entire world that with a lot of passion, great land and a little science, great wines could come from all sorts of places.”

That year a slew of wineries—18 in total—opened around the same time, eventually spawning a number of top-notch vinos from labels still owned and operated by founding families. It was wines like “Caymus, Jordan, Mount Veeder, Chateau Montelena, Stag’s Leap, Diamond Creek, Burgess, Silver Oak, Dry Creek, and Clos du Val…a veritable Hall of Fame of great wines” that blazed the trail.

[via Forbes]