The Monte Bello estate vineyard was planted, and the winery constructed, high up in Californiaâ€™s Santa Cruz Mountains in 1886. It produced its first vintage in 1892, but the vineyard fell into disrepair during the Prohibition, from 1920-1933. It was rescued in the 1950s by four electrical engineers from the Stanford Research Institute. The winery was a relaxed, local affair until they met vintner Paul Draper. A fellow Stanford graduate, Paul Draper had gained considerable experience at vineyards in France, Italy and Chile, where he ran his own winery. He took on the mantle of chief winemaker in 1971 and achieved international recognition for his 1971 Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon when it was ranked fifth in the Judgement of Paris tasting in 1976. This famous event pitted Franceâ€™s best wines against Californiaâ€™s best and the latter won in every category, much the French wine worldâ€™s chagrin.