Now under the guidance of Peter Mondavi Sr., the Charles Krug Winery
honors its roots while forging ahead to the future. From the Wild West
to the twenty-first century, relatively crude beginnings gave way to the
finest form of winemaking.
Founded in 1861 by Charles Krug,
the 27-year old Prussian immigrant came to America with little besides
willpower and a willingness to work hard to build the cornerstone of the
first winery in the Napa Valley. He became the major local winery
figure of his era, greatly influencing Napa Valley's development as a
world-renown wine producing region.
His leadership was said to
be inspirational and his ideas innovative. Charles Krug introduced the
cider press for winemaking, the first of which is still on display at
the winery. He carefully selected rootstocks, varietals and vineyard
sites - a novel concept in late 19th century America.
death in 1892, James Moffitt held the winery in proprietorship through
Prohibition. By 1943, he found a pioneering spirit in Cesare Mondavi,
an Italian immigrant with a passion for wine, and sold the winery to his
family for $75,000.
At 60 years old, Cesare Mondavi spearheaded
a dramatic renaissance in the decade that followed. Wine historian
Charles Sullivan writes in his book, Napa Wine, “By the early 1950s it
was irrefutable that the Valley's Big Four had been augmented by one -
the Charles Krug Winery”.
Cesare died in 1959 leaving Rosa as
President with sons Robert as General Manager and Peter as Vice
President. In 1966, Robert moved south to Oakville and began
construction of his own winery. Upon Rosa's death in 1976, Peter became
President of the winery.
Peter's industry innovations from his
studies at Stanford and Berkeley included revolutionary research on cold
fermentation, enabling the production of exceptionally crisp, fruity
white wines. His pioneering efforts to plant vineyards in the Carneros
region with chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, cold sterile filtration
techniques and aging wine in small French oak barrels contributed to his
being named one of the twelve “Living Legends” in 1999 by the Napa
Valley Vintners Association.
Above all else, Charles Krug Winery
is a family winery. Peter Sr. and his sons Marc and Peter Jr. continue
their dedication to producing the finest Bordeaux style wines in the
Napa Valley. To achieve this, they initiated a nine-year, $22 million
investment program completed in 2010. Over 400 of the winery's 850 prime
acres in Napa Valley have been re-planted and state-of-the-art
winemaking equipment is now in use.