Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Search is on for the Oldest Charles Krug Wine Bottle

I received this message this morning and found the idea of the bottle search fascinating. (In terms of marketing, it's a great idea!) The Charles Krug Winery / Peter Mondavi Family has been generous with WSBE Rhode Island PBS during our annual wine event, donating delicious wines over the years to help us raise programming funds. In fact, in the 2011 silent auction of An Evening Uncorked just this past February, there was a 3 Litre Charles Krug Generations, signed by Marc Mondavi and Peter Mondavi, Sr. Were you the high bidder?

So, on two levels - because you might have THE bottle the winery seeks among your other wine bottles, and because the winery has been a friend to WSBE Rhode Island PBS - I share this message and news release with you. Happy Thanksgiving!

With people pulling special bottles out for the holidays, we think someone might stumble across the oldest Charles Krug wine bottle in the world in the next few weeks.  If it happens, we want to know about it!

You may have seen the recent AP “Ghost Stories” article, which included Charles Krug Winery. [Editor's Note: I didn't see this story, but if you did and would like to tell us about it, please feel free to comment.] Old ghosts and old wine bottles are both part of the history of Charles Krug, which is Napa Valley’s oldest winery, founded in 1861. That was the year Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated and the Civil War began.

You’ll find details on our “oldest bottle” search, which goes through the end of the year, below. If you could share this with your audience, we would appreciate it.  We’re hoping for some great old finds.  Thanks much!


Bottle to be part of history exhibit at Napa Valley’s first winery

ST. HELENA, CA—In time for the 150th anniversary of Napa Valley’s first winery this year, the Peter Mondavi Sr. Family announces a search for the oldest Charles Krug Winery bottle in existence. Founded in 1861, Charles Krug Winery is the birthplace of the Napa Valley wine industry and has been in the Peter Mondavi Family for nearly 70 of its 150 years.

Peter Mondavi Jr. puts his family winery’s history in perspective: “Charles Krug was founded the year President Lincoln was inaugurated, and the year the Civil War began.” At the time, Napa Valley was essentially the Wild West. Charles Krug first planted Mission grapes on his St. Helena estate but he soon replanted to European varietals which he felt would make better wine. Wines made at the time would have likely included claret, sherry, Madeira, sweet tokay and riesling, the latter hugely popular with many of the German immigrant-winemakers in Napa Valley in the late 1800s.

Readers are encouraged to scour their wine cabinets, cellars, closets and caves for Charles Krug wine bottles, empty or full, dating either from pre-Prohibition or the Peter Mondavi Family era which began with the 1944 vintage.  Bottles deemed contenders will be authenticated by experts in the wine department of Sotheby’s auction house in New York. The Peter Mondavi Family may purchase the winning bottle for display at the winery.

Plans are for an exhibit of historic artifacts from Charles Krug Winery, which will include a towering 9000-gallon vintage redwood fermentation tank and Charles Krug’s original basket press, which he used to crush the first harvest at his fledgling winery. The estate’s Redwood Cellar will house the exhibit. The huge structure with its many-gabled roof and impressive belvedere was built by Charles Krug in 1873 after his original cellar burned to the ground. On the National Register of Historic Places and a California Historic Landmark, the Redwood Cellar was restored recently to hold the Peter Mondavi Family’s reserve barrel aging room. The Cellar will eventually house the winery’s new tasting room and visitor’s center with construction beginning in early 2012.

To submit an entry, please visit Charles Krug on Facebook and tell us about your bottle and post a photo, or email it to by December 31, 2011. Contenders for the oldest bottle will be contacted with next steps. 

Charles Krug Winery’s 150-year history traces the transformation of the Napa Valley from “Wild West” to Wine Country destination. With a legacy of nearly 70 years at Charles Krug, the Peter Mondavi Family is dedicated to ecological stewardship in order to preserve the land for their children and future generations. Those efforts to steward the land and preserve the winery's historical legacy are earning new respect for a family long identified with California wine. To learn more about Charles Krug Winery and the vision of the Peter Mondavi Family, visit Charles Krug Winery online.