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Guest blog entry: a quick refresher on some Mondavi family history

by TrevR on September 25, 2007

Bruce Allen is providing periodic guest blog entries while the Cork Board team continues to adjust to life with a newborn.

When I first visited the Napa Valley in 2004, I was fairly ignorant about much of the history of the Valley. I knew many of the big names, but I didn’t know much beyond that.

For instance, I had no idea that the Charles Krug Winery is owned by Robert Mondavi’s brother Peter and his family. (I can’t believe I’m admitting that.) That was one of the facts I learned on that initial visit and I wanted to learn more about the history of the winery and of course about the family. So, on my third visit, in 2005, I made sure the Krug Winery was one of my stops. The place didn’t seem like much when compared to some of the other wineries we had visited in the region. The tasting room was small and modest, and the grounds were not the carefully manicured showpiece that you see all around the valley. The wine was pretty good though. I bought a few bottles from there, including a Zinfandel Reserve Port, (Lot X) which I have yet to open. I have stopped in a couple of other times since then, most recently in June of this year. On that occasion, I noticed some construction going on in the large barn which is to the rear right of the tasting room. I was curious about what might be going on but the tasting room was pretty busy so I didn’t get a change to ask about the work.

This fall, reading “The House of Mondavi” gave me some more history of the winery and the things that have happened there since the 1940′s. The book doesn’t really paint the Peter Mondavi side in a very positive light, (though no one in the book comes off unscathed) as the book points out that not a lot of money was really sunk into the winery itself over the years.

I was delighted then, this week to read in Wine Business that the family has invested nearly $35 million into the winery, redoing the vineyards and the facilities (including the building I saw being worked on in June) and putting the winery back into a position to compete with the big boys of the valley. This is welcome news for those like myself who want to see historic wineries like Krug kept updated and healthy. 93-year-old Peter Mondavi is still in his office each day, and even has some nice things to say about his brother Robert in the article.

[techtags: Napa, Napa Valley, wine, winery, House of Mondavi, Peter Mondavi, Charles Krug, Robert Mondavi]

About the Author

has written 716 posts on The Cork Board. He was born and aged in the Napa Valley and has a passion for wine, writing and social media, which led him to co-found this blog in early 2007. Follow him on Twitter @TrevR.

  • http://winelimo.typepad.com/ Mark Marino

    Wow, very nice job and lots of links! You know Robert and Peter worked together before Robert when off and started his own winery. Davis Bynum remembered going there in the late 50′s early sixties with his son the boy who is now about fifty loved the grapes and as they loaded Davis station wagon he kept eating them from the bins. Finally they were done and Robert or Bob as Davis calls him said we should have weighed Hampton before and after to get an accutarate weight as the boy had eaten so much! Napa has changed a lot from those days! I too have a bit to say on a bit more comtemporary topic Nice Job!http://winelimo.typepad.com/winery_times/2007/09/ghost-block-mor.html

  • http://winelimo.typepad.com/ Mark Marino

    Wow, very nice job and lots of links! You know Robert and Peter worked together before Robert when off and started his own winery. Davis Bynum remembered going there in the late 50′s early sixties with his son the boy who is now about fifty loved the grapes and as they loaded Davis station wagon he kept eating them from the bins. Finally they were done and Robert or Bob as Davis calls him said we should have weighed Hampton before and after to get an accutarate weight as the boy had eaten so much! Napa has changed a lot from those days! I too have a bit to say on a bit more comtemporary topic Nice Job!http://winelimo.typepad.com/winery_times/2007/09/ghost-block-mor.html

  • http://www.bruceallenmedia.com/ Bruce Allen

    Thanks Mark. The Mondavi family history is actually fascinating…I’ve read two books thus far on them. Robert and Peter just couldn’t seem to get along in those days and things came to a head over a fur coat Robert bought for his wife when they were invited to the JFK White House. Robert was basically kicked out of the family business (though he remained a voting member of the board at Krug for years) and started his own Winery in 1966.

    Like I said, I’m glad the Krug winery is getting some upgrades and sprucing up. Lots of history in that place.

  • http://www.bruceallenmedia.com Bruce Allen

    Thanks Mark. The Mondavi family history is actually fascinating…I’ve read two books thus far on them. Robert and Peter just couldn’t seem to get along in those days and things came to a head over a fur coat Robert bought for his wife when they were invited to the JFK White House. Robert was basically kicked out of the family business (though he remained a voting member of the board at Krug for years) and started his own Winery in 1966.

    Like I said, I’m glad the Krug winery is getting some upgrades and sprucing up. Lots of history in that place.

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