PETER MONDAVI JR. – CO-PROPRIETOR, CHARLES KRUG WINERY
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.
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 make, is the investment of $25.6 million made to replant the 850 acres of their Napa Valley vineyard land, renewing the winery’s focus on Cabernet Sauvignon and other red Bordeaux varietals and converting to sustainable farming methods. These investments now position the Charles Krug Winery as one of Napa Valley's premier properties, centering on the family's tradition of innovation, integrity and quality.
As international wine conglomerates take root elsewhere in the Napa Valley, the Peter Mondavi Sr. Family is resolute in their intention to remain independent and family owned. “Between Dad, Marc and me, we have been making wine from grapes grown on these vineyards for several decades. There’s a love and dedication here that I believe you can taste in the wine,” Peter says.
His responsibilities include day-to-day operations such as winemaking and overseeing their vineyards and directing sales and marketing for the Charles Krug brand. Peter is often on the road where his busy travel schedule combines winemaker dinners, consumer education, sales meetings with the distributor network and chain meetings around the country. He sums up his passion for the brand by pointing to what he inherited from his grandmother about the fine points of food and wine pairing. "While Charles Krug wines reflect their origins in the most prestigious Napa Valley appellations, they resemble my grandmother’s beloved Italian wine in one way: they are well balanced and structured to accompany food."
Along with the resurgence of the brand, resurgence in the winery itself has taken shape. Peter, Marc and their father committed $9.5 million to the investment in the historic renovation of the original stone structures on the property. A two year construction project under their tutelage brought new life to the 1874 Redwood Cellar which now serves as the Charles Krug Reserve barrel room, and the 1881 Carriage House that is now an elegant entertainment venue for winery events.
Peter is also a member of numerous wine related organizations, including the Wine and Food Society of San Francisco and the American Society for Enology and Viticulture. A prolific fundraiser, Peter will embark on his sixth year of partnership with Morton’s-The Steakhouse, to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In addition, he has served on the boards of the Yountville Appellation Association and the Bottlenotes Advisory Board. Peter is a former board member of both the Napa Valley Vintners Association and Family Winemakers of California. He lives in Napa Valley with his wife Katie Williams-Mondavi and their two children.
BOB CABRAL - THREE STICKS
SPRING RELEASE OF HIS FIRST GRAPE TO BOTTLE WINES, THE 2015 VINTAGE
• 2015 PFV ESTATE SONOMA PINOT NOIR
• 2015 ONE SKY SONOME MOUNTAIN CHARDONNAY
ABOUT THREE STICKS WINES:
Three Sticks Wines is a boutique, family-owned winery founded by Bill Price (William S. Price III). Founded in 2002, the winery is named for Bill’s surfing nickname, “Billy Three Sticks,” which was assigned to him in his youth as a reference to the three Roman numerals that follow his name. As a long-time fan and collector of wines from the Durell Vineyard, Price purchased the property from Ed Durell in 1998, and launched Three Sticks a few years later.
In 2015, Bob Cabral, former winemaker for Williams Selyem, and Ryan Prichard, former assistant winemaker for Medlock Ames, joined the Three Sticks Team. Don Van Staaveren, who had been with Three Sticks since 2004, remains as Winemaker Emeritus. Cabral and Prichard will be focusing on the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay production, while Van Staaveren will continue to focus on the Cabernets.
The winery is housed in an industrial area near downtown Sonoma, among a cluster of other artisan wine producers known as the Eighth Street Wineries. In keeping with the winery’s “no crush” policy, every lot of grapes to come in is treated with utmost care and minimal handling. The winemaking team insists on keeping every vineyard block separate from the others from the moment they are picked on through fermentation, barrel aging and final blending.
In 2014, Three Sticks opened a tasting salon in downtown Sonoma: The Adobe (a.k.a. the VallejoCasteñada Adobe, #theadobe). Built circa 1842 and located just off the plaza in downtown Sonoma, the Vallejo-Casteñada Adobe was one of Sonoma’s oldest and longest occupied residences and remains one of the last standing buildings from California’s Mexican Period. It’s transformation into the Three Sticks tasting salon was directed by noted San Francisco designer Ken Fulk.
There is very good reason Bob Cabral’s name is synonymous with great Pinot Noir. With decades of experience in Sonoma County, Bob’s passion, experience and following for his work with the varietal is second to none. From 1998 to 2014 Bob was winemaker for Williams Selyem. There, he led the winery into a new era, overseeing an expansion of new vineyard sources and bottlings for the brand, along with the construction of a state-of the art winery.
Bob’s interest in wine and farming began in childhood helping his grandfather make wine in a barn. Growing up pruning grapes, irrigating vineyards and harvesting grapes became routine on his family’s 70-acre ranch near Escalon, CA. A fourth generation farmer and grape grower from the great San Joaquin Valley, he took all he learned at the family farm and applied it to his degrees at Fresno State University. While in college, his passion for Pinot Noir became evident as he spent every spare dime, and a good chunk of his student loans, on buying wines from all over the world—mostly Burgundy and Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs.
After graduating in the mid-1980s, Bob knew that Sonoma County was where he could best hone his skills and make wines to rival the best in the world. He spent 11 vintages in various winemaking positions—associate winemaker at DeLoach Vineyards, custom crush winemaker at Kunde Family Estate, winemaker at Alderbrook Vineyards and winemaker at Hartford Court Winery—before taking his seminal position at Williams Selyem.
Bob’s winemaking philosophy has remained constant throughout his career—to source and farm the best fruit possible, with minimal intervention in the cellar. He was awarded the 2011 Wine Star Award from the Wine Enthusiast as “Winemaker of the Year.” He joined Three Sticks in 2015, with fervent enthusiasm. Bob lives in the Russian River Valley where and is a devoted husband and father to his wife and daughter.