Charles Krug Winery Archives - Please The Palate
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A few trips to Napa in the past few months had me exploring St. Helena, in the heart of Napa Valley. I shared my thoughts on where to eat, drink and sleep in St. Helena in California Winery Advisor and am re-sharing it here. In the center of Napa Valley is the town of St. Helena. Eighteen miles north of downtown Napa and ten miles south of Calistoga, St. Helena is known as Napa Valley’s Main Street. Packed with acclaimed wineries and home to more Michelin starred restaurants than anywhere else in Napa Valley, St. Helena embodies perfect wine country charm. Heading to Napa Valley for the weekend? Settle in and explore St. Helena. St. Helena is home to numerous accommodations ranging in price. If you want to splurge, check out the new Las Alcobas Napa Valley, a 68-room resort offering rooms with private terraces and an on-site spa, or the luxurious Meadowood Resort. But, for a more affordable, yet unpretentious, luxurious option, select the Harvest Inn (1 Main Street, St Helena). Situated on eight acres, the Harvest Inn was first built in 1975. The property is home to 320 redwood trees and artwork is scattered throughout the property. You can enjoy a self-guided art walk through the peaceful property, swim in one of the two pool or workout in the small gym. Harvest Inn has 78 updated rooms, some of which have fireplaces and hot tubs. The Vineyard View rooms overlook Whitehall Lane’s Leonardini Vineyard and other rooms have views of the lush gardens. The restaurant at Harvest Inn serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and features menus that highlight locally sourced ingredients. Be sure to try the bacon at breakfast, a recipe created by Hector, the bellman at the Harvest Inn. The hotel hosts free wine tastings on Monday and Friday, is dog-friendly and offers complimentary car service to wineries within a three-mile radius. Add to that, Harvest Inn does not charge any resort fees. Harvest Inn really offers a great value for the price.
This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
There are only three family-owned wineries remaining in the Napa Valley that have been owned continuously by the same family since World War II. One of these wineries is Charles Krug Winery, celebrating their 75th anniversary this year. (The other two wineries are Sutter Home and Nichelini Family Winery.)
The Mondavi family bought the Charles Krug Winery in 1943, but the winery pre-dates them. Charles Krug, born in Prussia, was educated as a journalist who first came to the United States to give a talk at the Philadelphia University of Free Thinkers. He later returned to the U.S., moving to San Francisco where he published a radical newspaper, as well as worked at the U.S. Mint.
Wine became a hobby after Krug was introduced to it by friends who were making wine. In December 1860, Krug married Carolina Bale who came from a prominent family. As part of her dowry, he was given 600 acres in what is today St. Helena. Due to his love of wine, Charles Krug established a winery in the heart of the 600 acres in 1860, making it the oldest winery in the Napa Valley.
Charles Krug winery is not only the oldest winery in Napa (established in 1861) but it has been owned by the Mondavi family since 1943. Since then, four generations of Mondavi’s have run the winery. In fact, presently there are three generations still working the day-to-day, including Peter Mondavi Sr. who is turning 99 years old on November 8. To this day, Peter Sr goes to work every day (including Saturdays), walking up two flights of stairs to his office.  He works a full day, with a long lunch break, and even learned how to use Facebook recently! With his motto of “a glass of Cabernet a day”, perhaps we should all heed his advice! And what’s better than a glass of Charles Krug wine. Peter Mondavi Jr.