The Coast News Group
Taste of Wine

Napa still going strong 150 years later

On Sept. 10, Napa Valley and a lot of the rest of the wine world, will celebrate a significant milestone — the 150th anniversary of Napa Valley’s first winery.
Charles Krug Winery was founded in 1861. 
Of the more than 3,000 wineries in California, Charles Krug laid the blueprint for new world wines, their fruit-rich consistency and character, but with a European style and sophistication. 
I have been on the hallowed grounds with its heritage oaks and vast expanse of lawn and realized that Charles Krug is a  remarkable piece of America.
And so does the governor, who has proclaimed “Charles Krug Winery Day” on Sept. 10, 2011. 
There is another component of this celebration and a primary page in the history of Napa Valley winemaking.  This was the first winery purchased by the Mondavi Family, when Peter Senior and Robert Mondavi built a brand that would be forever hailed as some of the greatest wines in the world
Later, Peter Senior and sons Peter Junior and Marc would carry on the tradition but with a new direction:  stewardship of the land and the move to sustainable farming practices for next-generation preservation. 
I recently had the opportunity to taste the Mondavi Family’s Reserve 2008 “Generations,” a tribute to the family’s banner year of celebration.
This showstopper is a blend of 56 percent Cabernet, 31 percent Merlot, 10 percent Cab Franc and 3 percent Petit Verdot. 
Distinctive roasted chestnut, and brown sugar qualities hold together black cherry and some mineral notes ($51 at the winery).
Make a date for Sept. 10, from 2 to 5 p.m. at Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena  for a significant milestone, the 150th anniversary of Charles Krug and salute 96 year old Peter Mondavi Senior with a “well done.” 
A host of other wine and food tastings will top the afternoon’s activities. 
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Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival coming soon
Here’s a wine and food event you absolutely, positively must experience. 
The 8th annual edition of the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival is set for Nov. 16 through Nov. 20. 
Check out the over-the-top lineup:  170 wine and spirit brands, 70 of San Diego’s top chefs, cooking and wine tasting classes, big bottle auction, continuous food and wine tastings, over 800 wines and a $50,000 “Chef of the Fest” competition.
Festival co-producer Michelle Metter asserted that “for eight years we have created an experience in Southern California that puts wine and food enthusiasts face-to-face with true culinary legends, rockstars in fact to many of us.  Throughout the year, we follow the trends, the winemakers and chefs, sommeliers and mixologists, who are trailblazing a path filled with innovation and creativity, bringing many of them to San Diego for this event,” she said.
Throughout the week, visitors can choose from a number of events and packages to match their schedule.  Be sure to include:  the Reserve & New Release Tasting and Silent Auction, Nov. 18, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on board the Hornblower Inspiration; and the Grand Tasting Event Saturday Nov. 19 from noon to 3 p.m. ( VIP passes for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at the Embarcadero behind Seaport Village. 
Complete ticket and schedule details online at or call (619) 342-7337.
Wine Bytes
— Every Tuesday, RELM Wine Bistro in Carlsbad has Keith offering an exploration of four different varietals for $10, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Details at (760) 434-9463.
— Bernardo Winery presents its Grape Stomp Festa Sept. 11 starting at 5 p.m.  $35 a ticket includes grape stomping, buffet dinner, wine tasting and live music.  Get more info at (858) 487-1866.
— A special Ken Forrester Wine Dinner is planned for PAON Restaurant and Wine Bar in Carlsbad Sept. 13. Reception at 6:15 p.m.  Meet Ken Forrester and Jessie Casanova from the winery.  $85 per person.  Call for an RSVP at (760) 729-7377.
— Firefly Grill and Bar in Encinitas has a Baker & Olive Wine Dinner Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m. with Smokescreen and Fifty Row Wines.  Cost is $60.  Call (760) 635-1066.
— Cougar Vineyards and Winery in Temecula  is celebrating Mexican Independence Day with a Salsa and Guacamole Competition Sept. 16, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.  Visitors pay $30 per person; $25 for club members.  Details at (951) 491-0825.