R.C.M.P. Pocketknife

This three-blade pocketknife was owned by Napa Valley winemaker Miljenko “Mike” Grgich. He acquired it in about 1956-58 when he was living in Vancouver, Canada. The letters “RCMP” appear on the knife along with an image of a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman. Grgich kept the knife as a memento of his brief time in Canada, where he worked odd jobs, including as a dishwasher and waiter.
Born in Croatia in 1923, Mike Grgich began his studies in viticulture and enology at the University of Zagreb in 1949. Fearful of political unrest, he left Croatia in 1954 by accepting a United Nations fellowship to continue his studies in West Germany. Months after completing the fellowship he received a visa to Canada, where he lived for two years before landing a job in the place of his dreams, California’s Napa Valley.
Grgich worked briefly for Lee Stewart of Napa’s Chateau Souverain, and for Brother Timothy at Christian Brothers. In 1959 he began working in the laboratory at Beaulieu Vineyards, under the supervision of André Tchelistcheff, a Russian enologist and fellow immigrant. In 1968, Grgich was hired by Robert Mondavi to be part of his new winery in Oakville, and in 1972 he became the winemaker at Chateau Montelena.
Grgich made the 1973 Chardonnay for Chateau Montelena that placed first in the 1976 Paris Tasting, an event that brought international attention to the wines being produced by a new generation of California winemakers. Grgich’s success allowed him to establish his own winery with Austin Hills in 1977.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
silver (overall material)
overall: 3 3/4 in x 3/4 in x 1/2 in; 9.525 cm x 1.905 cm x 1.27 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Industry & Manufacturing
See more items in
Work and Industry: Food Technology
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Miljenko Grgich

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