In 1949, Miljenko (Mike) Grgich began his studies in viticulture and enology at the University of Zagreb in the former Yugoslavia (now Croatia). In 1954, fearful of political unrest, he fled and in 1958 he found his way to California. Grgich worked with various winemakers including André Tchelistcheff and Robert Mondavi. In 1972, he began working at Chateau Montelena, where, only a year later, he made the Chardonnay that placed first in the Paris tasting. In 1977, he and his business partners established Grgich Hills Estate in Napa Valley.