by Fred McMillin
Winery of the Week
How to Start a Winery
"In 1860 Charles Krug married Caroline Bale, daughter of an Englishman."
...Napa Historical Society, Charles Krug Winery
"Caroline Bale, one of the most beautiful women in the Napa Valley, was the daughter of the English physician, Dr. E.T. Bale, landowner and solid citizen."
The Rest of the Story
Idyllic tale...Charles Krug starts his winery on 20 acres of land from his bride's dowry. How did she come to own the site of the Napa Valley's first commercial winery?
1837—E.T. emerges dripping from the ocean on the shore at Monterey, California. It is not Spielberg's Extra Terrestrial being. Rather, it is the ship's surgeon, E.T. Bale., one of the few survivors of the foundering H.M.S. Harriet.
In those days in the California capital, you could not get a second medical opinion...in fact you could not even get a first, since there was no doctor in the house! Enthusiastically embraced by the community and General Mariano Vallejo, he rapidly became Surgeon General of the Mexican Army and groom of General Vallejo's niece, Maria Soberanes. But there's a darker side. Hold on tight.
The Widow Bale invited a young Sonoma winemaker to help around the ranch. He married Caroline the day after Christmas in 1860, a month after the U.S.A. had elected a new president, Abraham Lincoln. The next year he starts the Krug winery. The legendary Count Harazthy has loaned him a small cider press, so Charles uses mechanical crushing for his pioneering wines. The press still is displayed at the winery (see photo).
If you want to see how the mechanical presses are doing at the Krug Winery today, try the '96 Reserve Sangiovese...genuinely pleasing with veal, ham, smoked turkey...(707) 967-2200...$16.
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Winery of the Week
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