What's Cookin' on Wine with Michael Horn

01/16 PETER MONDAVI JR., CHARLES KRUG, BOB CABRAL, THREE STICKS

January 23, 201752 min
PETER MONDAVI JR. – CO-PROPRIETOR, CHARLES KRUG WINERY HISTORY 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. After his 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. ABOUT PETER: Peter Mondavi Jr. is the second son of Peter and Blanche Mondavi and grandson of Cesare and Rosa Mondavi, the Napa Valley pioneers who purchased the historic Charles Krug Winery in 1943. As co-proprietor with his brother Marc, he works closely with their father, Peter Sr. on issues of strategic importance, including stewardship of all the winery's brands. Peter, born in 1958, was raised on the winery property. “I was born and raised around grapes and wine. It has always been part of me,” says Peter. His education began at the winery where he and Marc sanded fermenting tanks, unpacked glasses, worked in the winery’s laboratory and drove tractors through the vineyards. He may have started his education at the winery, but following in his father's footsteps, he attended Stanford University, earning a BS in mechanical engineering and an MS in engineering management, followed by an MBA. The engineering background has proved a valuable asset to the winery; he has directed a number of key design projects, including the development of a state-of-the-art winemaking facility. His business education has contributed to the development and execution of the company's long-term strategic plan. Peter now leads the vision for the historic Charles Krug brand. Part of the vision, and one that he believes only a family-owned and operated business can ma

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