Three vineyards owned by the Charles Krug Winery - Peter Mondavi Family are now certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), a non-profit organic certification association.
Charles Krug, the oldest winery in Napa Valley, is converting five of its seven Napa Valley ranches to organic production. The first to receive CCOF certificate are:
- The 57-acre Slinson and 97-acre Voltz ranches in the Yountville appellation.
- The historic "B" block in the 138-acre Family Estate Vineyard in St. Helena.
Two additional Charles Krug properties, Page and Homefinders in Yountville, have been farmed organic since 2005 and will most likely be certified in the summer of 2007. By next year's harvest, the Peter Mondavi Family expects to be among the largest certified-organic landowners in Napa Valley.
The conversion to organic production is a notable departure from standard viticulture practice in Napa Valley, but entirely consistent with the Peter Mondavi Family's record of innovation. Under the leadership of family patriarch Peter Mondavi, 91, the winery was the first Napa Valley winery to use cold fermentation of white wines, the first to use French oak barrels for aging wine, and among the first to use glass lined fermenting tanks. Mr. Mondavi also published the first winery newsletter, Bottles & Bins, some forty years ago.
Now, under the leadership of Peter Mondavi, Jr., Charles Krug is among the first well known wineries to convert to organic farming practices, a transition that began in 2003 and, with this new certification, now includes some 250 acres.
Organic agriculture reflects our respect for the land we've farmed for more than 60 years, across three generations, says Peter Mondavi, Jr.
"My father, brother Marc and I believe that it's the right thing to do-because it's better for our land, better for our people, community and customers, and most important of all, it will help us make better wine," he says.
Organic farming refers to agricultural produce grown without conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, bioengineering or ionizing radiation.
According to Mark Neal of Jack Neal & Son Vineyard Management, the region's largest manager of certified organic vineyards; the organic certification process is both lengthy and rigorous, requiring three years of organic farming practices prior to certification. Neal expects the family to receive organic certification of the 240-acre Page-Homefinders Ranch in Yountville in time for the 2007 harvest.
The conversion to organic farming is not the first environmentally friendly move undertaken by the Peter Mondavi family. In 2005, Charles Krug joined the Fish Friendly Farming Program (FFF) for the Napa River watershed, preserving local fish and wildlife habitat. The Peter Mondavi Family has enrolled more than 150 acres in the FFF program, including land bordering the Napa River and along Conn and Rector Creeks in Yountville, where the family has supported the removal of non-native invasive plants and the planting of native grasses and vegetation.
Charles Krug Winery is Napa Valley's oldest winery, founded in 1861 and acquired by Cesare and Rosa Mondavi in 1943. Owned and operated by the Peter Mondavi Family, the Charles Krug Winery produces cabernet sauvignon and other noble varietals with grapes grown in prized Napa Valley appellations, including Yountville, Carneros, and St. Helena. The winery is located in St. Helena, CA. For more, visit www.charleskrug.com.