Wine Talk

Snooth User: hockeyandwine

Vintage wines

Posted by hockeyandwine, May 2, 2009.

Hello everyone,

I'm relative new to wine and the site. I am wondering if someone could assist me, I came across a couple of vintage wine bottles in our storage, but have no clue as to their value or drinkability.

The bottles are:
1974 Clos Du Bois "second release" Cabernet Sauvignon 750 ML
1975 Stony Ridge Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 750 ML

and another which the label is not as readable anymore...its a Paul Masson says "Baroque" on the top of the label..the label is black and has gold print on it. Unfortunately, I can't tell what kind it is beyond that. I do know the bottle itself is stamped 4/5 quart.

Any information on any of them would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


Reply by John Andrews, May 2, 2009.

Hey Ron ... assuming that they were stored on their side, there was a bit of humidity in the storage area, there wasn't huge fluctuations in temperature and no direct sunlight there is a good chance they are drinkable.

Don't know those vintages (Greg might) but did a search here on Snooth and the Clos Du Bois could be worth something:

Stony Ridge appears to be founded in 1975 so you could have a bottle of their inaugural vintage so it could be worth something.

The Paul Mason may not be 'wine' per se ... more likely brandy:

Reply by Philip James, May 3, 2009.

Stony Ridge Winery may no longer exist - I found one in Ohio, but not one in California, which is where I'm guessing that bottle is from.

You may find a devotee of their wines that would pay for it - hard to know, now there's no longer a liquid market (liquid, gettit?)

The Clos du Bios could be worth $250 if its still in good condition

Reply by John Andrews, May 3, 2009.

@Philip ... Stony Ridge in Cali does still exist. It's in the Livermore Valley. It's website seems to be toast but Appellation America still has them:

Reply by dmcker, May 3, 2009.

May have had a website at one point, or at least a domain name registry. From Google:

Click on it now and all you get is some webhosting service I'm not familiar with. Looks like a New Zealand winery got the domain name. Elsewhere in the first page or two of a google you can find a few reviews of winery visits to the one that made the wine above.

Stony Ridge was a name that was known back at the time of those vintages. Wonder what's happened to them?

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, May 4, 2009.

I just recently had the 1978 Clos du bois and while fully mature it was a wonderful bottle of Sonoma County Cabernet, which is to say a bit weedy and decidedly red fruited with a soft structure.

As far as vintages go 1974 was one of the best for California and while many of the wines, particularly those from Napa, where it's warmer, didn't quite have the best balance I'd bet your bottles is still kickin!

1975 produced much leaner wines with structures built as much around acidity as tannin. It too has an excellent chance of still being quite nice to drink.

The Paul Masson Baroque is more of a jug wine but even that may still be interesting. Back in the day most jug wine was produced from old vine Zinfandel, Alicante, and Petite Sirah, with perhaps a few other minor blending grapes thrown in for good measure. The main elements all have the stuffing to age reasonably well. You might get lucky with that one but the likelihood of it being intact is considerably less than with your 2 vintage wines.

Of course the most important factor, as John points out, is how they have been stored.

Please let us know how they are when you get a chance to open them!

Reply by dmcker, May 4, 2009.

I was surprised to hear Paul Masson is mainly known for its brandy these days, but then again I haven't lived in North America for quite awhile. In its heyday, it was one of the largest volume sellers of all sorts of entry-level wine, towards the end of which was when I was growing up in California. Wine that was labeled as 'champagne' and 'chablis', the latter usually in jugs. They served a purpose, I suppose, in getting larger portions of the drinking populace beyond such monstrosities as 'cold duck', which was actually served at my aunt's wedding...

Anyway, I did a quick google to findout what happened to the label, which had long since slipped my (and everyone else's, it would seem) mind. Looks like a classic example of a property that gets bought up by one conglomerate, shopped to another, sold yet again to another, etc., etc. until it fades away like MacArthur's old soldier. A very common story in another part of northern California, Silicon Valley. So many famous-in-their-day ventures are only barely rememberable just a few decades or even years later. Interestingly Paul Masson's original 'mountain' winery was just above Saratoga, a very affluent community where a lot of Silicon Valley movers and shakers now live...

One thing I did remember about Paul Masson was their kinda cool TV ads featuring Orson Welles. I found some of his takes on YouTube. Here's what was actually aired:

And here's what the director had to put up with when trying to film Orson after he'd sampled too many of the client's wares...:

They definitely broke the mold after Orson was created...

Reply by dmcker, May 4, 2009.

Welles was famous for being a precocious genius (as in his War of the Worlds radio broadcast that caused a mass panic, and in his directing of Citizen Kane, arguably one of the best movies every made) in the 1930s. By the '60s and '70s he was better known in the industry as being impossible to handle. As well as for his prodigious appetite for good food and wine, leading to an ever-increasing girth. Leaving aside his many other foibles, he was without a doubt one of the most intelligent people to every try to cope over time with Hollywood LaLaLand. Unfortunately his many runins with people and substances turned him a bit curmodgeonly, thus leading to a rep as someone who was too difficult to deal with, and his career options narrowed during his last decades. Besides the Paul Masson example above, here's a famous example of a canned pea (!) commercial he was forced to make in order to keep himself in the food and drink he was accustomed to:

Guess he was too sober this time to deal with the banal ad copy he was supposed to read! I tend to view it as another Welles classic, if this time writ on a much smaller scale than in his heyday.

Reply by Baroque101, Mar 29, 2010.

Dear Hockeyandwine - 

I remember Masson's Baroque from the 70s and wish I could find if it is still available. As I remember, the label did not identify it as being any particular type (merlot, cabernet, or the like). It was just a "red wine," but how I enjoyed its deep, velvety taste.

Good luck with your bottle, you lucky people.


Leo Grant



Reply by RRamjet, Aug 11, 2010.

When I was in college, we were all low brow wine connoisseurs.  Upon finding the still-reasonably priced Paul Masson Baroque, it seemed like a real nice upscale step from Gallo Hearty Burgundy and the like which was normal fare.  We went thru a lot of Baroque and my dorm room it gave my dorm room a reputation as the place for fine wine!  I'll never forget those heady days of youth and discovery.  It was just a red blend but we sure enjoyed it in our environment.

Reply by Theodore Rosas, Apr 21, 2012.

Hello there I have a vintage 1978 Paul Masson champagne glass set still in orignal packadge. I would like to what it's worth now. Thanks -Theodore

Reply by dmcker, Apr 21, 2012.

Now that's a 'collector's item' with very esoteric appeal. My guess is probably not a lot, but let's see what anyone else has to say. Are they coupes rather than flutes (my guess), with 'Paul Masson' stamped on them? If so, probably trade giveaways at the time....

Reply by Pyrifera, Apr 22, 2012.

As HondaJohn said earlier, Stony Ridge is still around.  They are a dual label with Crooked Vine in Livermore Valley.  The website is  According to their website, the original Stony Ridge began in 1887 and in 1975 began operations in Livermore.

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