September 21, 2023

Episode #564 – The Mondavi Light Shines Bright at the Napa Valley’s Oldest Winery

Now going into a third month of shelter in place with Grape Encounters Radio, host David Wilson is honored to spend some quality time, albeit in confinement, with two extraordinary icons of the wine industry… Judd Wallenbrock, CEO of CK Mondavi & Family (parent company to Charles Krug), and Peter Mondavi Jr., Co-Proprietor of Charles Krug.

This edition of Grape Encounters offers a very intimate look into the oldest winery in the Napa Valley—founded by Prussian Immigrant Charles Krug in 1861—and owned and operated by members of the famed Mondavi family ever since it was purchased by Cesare Mondavi in 1943. Despite a projected drop in restaurant and hotel sales of 95+% due to the Covid-19 crisis, wholesale and retail sales are projected to show growth of about 10%, compensating for a significant portion of the on-premise sales loss. It’s a bittersweet testimony to the strength of the Mondavi name and the brand loyalty that has remained remarkably powerful for well over 70 years.

Under Peter’s management as well as that of his Father and Grandfather, Charles Krug has survived a wide range of devastating states national and world events. Peter and Judd share their very personal insights into the success of Charles Krug and its sister C. Mondavi and Family brands. The family has always been steadfast in keeping the brands’ history at the forefront of any conversation, but every generation of Mondavi brings with it a keen understanding of what it takes to grow with the times without sacrificing the historic principles and corporate culture that makes these brands so iconic. From the critical role that social media plays in today’s wine industry to radical changes in packaging and so much more, this conversation is full of revelations, reverences and pleasant surprises!

Today’s edition of Grape Encounters is brought to you by Total Wine & More, where you’ll find thousands of wines produced by folks who started with a dream and never looked back. Be sure to spend a little time online at You’ll be very glad you did!

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