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A Brush With The Big Boys

(For those of you that haven't heard it yet, here's the story that first put Allegro on the national map.)

John and Tim Crouch began their respective careers as classically trained musicians. When they entered the wine industry, they brought their interest in music to their winery through its name (Allegro) and the naming of some of the wines. When John created a Seyval Blanc and peach wine blend, he christened it “Opus 1.” Yes, “Opus 1,” just like any composer might.

Now, in the early 1980s, Robert Mondavi and Baron Mouton-Rothschild decided to enter into a partnership as a new winery in Napa, California. Millions were spent on the development of the winery and the vineyards. This “Napamedoc” wine needed a name. They chose “Opus One.” Wouldn’t you know it....

After the big announcement at a press conference, a voice from the back of the country was heard to say, “Ahem. We already are using that name.” (Actually, Jim Laube from Wine Spectator broke the news, and John wrote him a letter explaining the coincidence.) Therewith, a fleet of lawyers was sent to Pennsylvania. A deal was struck. Allegro was not allowed to use the name “Opus One” for any of its wines in exchange for a monetary settlement. Thus came to be the honorary “Opus One Bridge” and “Opus One Corker.” Both are still in operation.

Additionally, it was noted that there was a gentleman's agreement that Mondavi was to come to this small hamlet and taste the wines.

He never showed....


  1. Well, Mr. Mondavi doesn't know what he is missing then.


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