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Copyright © 2015
Forkmedia LLC

by Fred McMillin
for May 11, 2000


A Mother's Day Travail
Her Son's in Jail!


Marie and her husband had certainly done their utmost to get son Karl off to a good start...six years in a "Latin school," then on to the University of Marburg. But with the revolutions in France and America in his mind, Karl began writing revolutionary articles for the press...and on Sept. l8, 1848 was tossed into the slammer. What's a mother to do??

Karl Krug

"Karl" Krug.

Well, she didn't have to do much, because here's what happened.

1849—Fellow advocates of a representative German government sprung him from jail by force.

1851—Wisely, he had come to Oakland, California and was editor of Staats Zeitung, the first German-language newspaper on the Pacific Coast.

1861—Karl, now called Charles, launches the first commercial winery in the Napa Valley.

1880—The Charles Krug Winery produces 280,000 gallons of wine which critics said "was second to none in the Valley." Marie Krug's son had done just fine, thank you!

What Charles Krug wine should you use next Sunday night to toast Marie and your own mother? Here's what we're having.

Sauvignon Blanc (and Salmon Soufflé)

In 1943 the Mondavi family bought the Krug winery for $70,000. Sons Peter and Robert took over from dad before long. Later, Robert left to form his own winery. Peter Sr., with sons Marc and Peter Jr., continued to build Krug.

Peter Mondavi, Sr. Peter Mondavi, Sr. (pictured), played a big part in a major fermentation used world-wide. Refrigeration had become economical, and working with the enology profs at the University of California, Peter was among the first to learn that fermenting white wines at low temperatures produced exquisite, fruity flavors. Soon, cold- fermented Krug Chenin Blanc was one of the nation's most popular wines.

Now, today's white Krug is new. They had been selling their estate-grown Sauvignon Blanc grapes to other wineries. Then, two years ago the Mondavis decided they were too good to let go. Voila! Here's their first release of...

Wine of the Day

Charles Krug Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Appellation—Napa Valley
Winemaker—The first wine made by Jac Cole, who joined Krug three years ago.
Composition—100% Sauvignon Blanc
Contact—Office of Marketing V.P. Andy Fromm, (707) 967-2214
Food Pairing— It paired beautifully with a dish my wife whipped up (literally), a salmon soufflé from page 174 of James Beard's How to Eat Better for Less Money. Also worked well with 1-alarm chicken curry, since the Blanc has decidedly more oomph than a Chardonnay in that price range.


Marie Krug's only son knew how to pick a few good men for the first Napa winery. Among his staff were future vintners Carl Wente and Jacob Beringer!

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


This page created May 2000