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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.