University Library


Robert Balzer       The California wine industry owes Robert Lawrence Balzer more than you can imagine. Without his writings California wines would not be where they are today. His work legitimized our industry to the world. - Ernest Gallo

In 2008 Cal Poly Pomona Library was honored to begin receiving the personal collections of renowned wine journalist and wine educator, Robert Lawrence Balzer. Balzer is recognized for having had an enormous impact on the California wine industry, and on the acceptance of California wines worldwide. He began championing quality California wines in the 1930s, decades before the rest of the world realized their stature. In 1973 he organized a blind tasting with the New York Food and Wine Society, where California Chardonnays received the top four scores. That contributed momentum toward the famous 1976 "Judgment of Paris" blind tasting where again California wines received top scores over French wines (portrayed in the 2008 film "Bottle Shock"). The acquisition of the Robert Lawrence Balzer Collection builds on an already significant Wine Industry Collection at Cal Poly Pomona Library and further strengthens the library as a research venue for the wine industry.

The painting in the header is a detail of a portrait by James-Paul Brown.