Winiarski Gives $3.3 Million for Wine Writing Library

Follows other significant donation to fund fellowship to maintain and curate collection

by Wines & Vines staff
Warren Winiarski (right) and professor Roger Boulton with the University of California, Davis.

Davis, Calif.—Warren Winiarski, the founder of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, committed $3.3 million to build what’s being touted as the world’s most comprehensive collection of wine writing at the Univeristy of California, Davis.

According to a news release by UC Davis, the gift by the Winiarski Family Foundation will preserve and increase access to the works of Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson and other celebrated wine writers including book authors, editors, wine journalists, critics, columnists, bloggers and the creators of other editorial content.

"My hope for this gift is that it will create a powerful resource for people who want to see how writers helped develop the wine industry itself and how they influenced the aesthetics of wine,” Winiarski said in the UC Davis statement. “Wine writers didn’t write just about the regions or types of wine. They gave winemakers the tools they needed to make wines better."

British wine writer Hugh Johnson has described the UC Davis’ current collection as “the greatest wine library in the world.”

The library holds more than 30,000 wine books and special collections of manuscripts, maps and other materials on wine dating back as far as 1287. Its collections also include papers and books from wine notables such as Robert Mondavi, Leon D. Adams, Roy Brady and Robert Thompson, among others.

Winiarski, who took courses from UC Davis viticulture and enology professor Maynard Amerine, said he wants to give back because of the university’s strong international reputation in viticulture and enology and the library’s steps to archive and digitizing its collections. "I wanted to be part of that endeavor — to help make the library at the University of California, Davis, the preeminent library for this type of research and materials," he said.

Winiarski, was the first winemaker of Robert Mondavi Winery in 1966, and said wine writers helped identify and winemaking styles that were used by winemakers.

"They helped advance the conversation and inspired us to render grapes with more subtlety, refinement and knowledge," said the recent inductee into the California Hall of Fame. "That takes a vocabulary. You have to be able to take the senses of taste and smell, and the structural elements of wine, and reduce those elements into words. Wine writers did that for us."

Winiarski said he hopes the UC Davis lbrary’s wine writer collections will leverage the works of these authors so they can be used to create even better wines in the future. "It’s about helping to refine truth through history," he said. "It’s not just about preserving their work, but also building a home where something new can be created from the past. We need to continue to get more finesse in our wines and I’m hoping that this collection will help bring about those developmental benefits for the industry for many years to come."

Winiarski’s earlier gifts to the library have totaled nearly $400,000. In addition to supporting the wine writer collections, the funds will also support the Warren Winiarski Wine Writer Collection Fellow to help curate, manage and promote the collection.

Posted on 07.29.2018 - 11:57:05 PST
Thank you Warren for your very generous gift. I enjoy reading about wine as much as I enjoy drinking it- especially Stag's Leap on those special occasions.
Joe Fretschel

Posted on 07.27.2018 - 08:22:44 PST
As if I needed another reason to drink Stag's Leap. Very impressed by WW's generosity.

Posted on 07.27.2018 - 08:27:54 PST
It is because of people like Warren that I have had an opportunity to be a part of this great wine community. My early introduction to wine through people like Frank Schoonmaker & the poetic columns in Gourmet magazine by Gerald Asher and so many other gifted writers show why the power of the pen is so important.
THANK YOU Warren for your generosity. It is an honor to call you a friend!
Sincerely........ Chris Kearney

Posted on 07.30.2018 - 09:57:03 PST
Absolutely phenomenal!