8 Facts About Peter Mondavi Sr.

8 Facts About Peter Mondavi Sr.

The CEO of Charles Krug Winery recently celebrated his 100th birthday. Here are a few facts (the famous fight included) about one of Napa Valley’s founding fathers of wine:

While they certainly deserve credit for the success of Charles Krug, the Mondavis were not the first owners. Peter’s father bought the St. Helena winery in 1947.

Peter and his brother Robert founded the Napa Valley Technical Group in 1947. The still-active organization shares the latest research and technological advances, and helps foster fellowship, mentoring and camaraderie among Napa’s wineries and farmers.

Ever been wowed by a Chardonnay or a Pinot Noir from Carneros? Thank Peter. He was the first to plant those grapes there.

During the 1960s, Peter began buying up as much Napa Valley land as he could afford. In 1965, an acre went for roughly $2,000. Today, an acre in Napa can fetch as much as $300,000.

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Aging California wine in French oak barrels is common today. Well, Peter was one of the first winemakers in the state to do so.

Peter and Robert ran Charles Krug together until 1962, when the two allegedly came to blows. While the brothers often butted heads over the business, local legend has it the fistfight was sparked by an argument over a mink coat. After the rumored scuffle, Peter took sole ownership of Charles Krug, and Robert created Robert Mondavi Winery.

Peter’s granddaughter, Angelina Mondavi, is the first woman winemaker in the family. She’s worked at Pine Ridge Vineyards, and at One True Vine, helping craft Hundred Acre, Cherry Pie and Layer Cake wines. She and her three sisters now own and operate Dark Matter Wines.

While he remains CEO, Peter has officially handed over the day-to-day reins to his two sons, Peter Jr. and Marc. Yet, the centenarian comes to the winery nearly every day and still helps make wine.

Published on February 19, 2015
Topics: CaliforniaNapa Valley