Patriarch Cesare Mondavi wasn't generally considered a trendsetter but, in 1951, when he hosted Charles Krug Winery's first Tastings on the Lawn, it was believed to have been the first public wine tasting of its kind.
61 years later…Charles Krug's now-signature harvest event marks this news from Napa Valley's first winery:
On August 7, Cesare's son, second generation Peter Mondavi Sr. will proudly break ground for a brand new hospitality center, designed by Howard Backen, to be housed in (and pay homage to) Charles Krug's original stone winery, the birthplace of the Napa wine industry.
Also this fall, Peter Mondavi Sr. will turn 98 and at Tastings on the Lawn on Saturday, September 8, 2012, from 2 to 5 p.m. Mr. Mondavi will celebrate the first harvest with several of his grandchildren--the fourth Mondavi generation and Millennials all--on board!
The winery's signature event welcomes wine, food and music lovers to the Charles Krug Winery's Great Lawn adjacent to estate's historic Carriage House. Founded in 1861, Charles Krug is Napa Valley's first winery and represents the birthplace of the Napa Valley wine industry.
Visitors strolling in the shade of heritage oaks will enjoy tastings of Charles Krug wines from Sauvignon Blanc to Cabernet Sauvignon, including the winery's ultra-premium Limited Release and Family Reserve Bordeaux-style wines. Wines will be paired with a bountiful Wine Country feast created by Knickerbockers' Oak Avenue Catering, who will also dish up pizza from the wood-fired oven to showcase just how easy food and wine pairing can be.
Guests will have the opportunity to sample aging wines directly from the oak barrels, and to meet members of three generations of the Peter Mondavi Family who will be on hand for photos and to sign bottles.
A harvest tradition, the Peter Mondavi family will delve into their cellars and open special library wines for guests in the upstairs ballroom of the 1881 Carriage House (additional fee applies). The Carriage House ballroom was recently restored using dramatically wine-stained redwood recovered from the winery's historic wine tanks; the ballroom boasts a soaring cathedral ceiling and stunning period-style chandeliers.
Back by popular demand, the Steely Dan tribute band, Steely Scam, will perform on the Great Lawn stage as a backdrop for all of the festivities, and will likely inspire guests to kick off their shoes to dance in the soft grass to the beat of classic rock. Caricature artist Doug Shannon will be on hand to create portraits on request.
Lawn chairs, picnic blankets, and straw hats are encouraged. Tickets are available online (admission $50, Wine Club members $25, Reserve Wine Club members complimentary) at www.charleskrug.com. Charles Krug Winery is located at 2800 Main Street, St. Helena.