ST. HELENA — Two years after completing a major long-term capital project in vineyards and winery, C. Mondavi & Family plans to start construction in August on a $6 million new hospitality and retail center at the Charles Krug property.
The proprietors are having the center built carefully within the historic Redwood Cellar building Charles Krug built in 1872 and now used for barrel aging of the Generations reserve tier of the brand. The goal is for the center to become a direct marketing and sales tool, according to Peter Mondavi Jr., who runs the company with his father, Peter Sr., and brother, Marc.
“It ties in beautifully with Charles Krug being a luxury brand,” Peter Mondavi Jr. said. “There will be more emphasis on direct-to-consumer. It’s very important to that group.”
The existing Charles Krug brand retail and tasting room will be relocated into part of the ground floor of the cellar and enhanced with a deli. A mezzanine will accommodate luncheon and dinner meetings, and part of it will be divided for private events with club members and trade representatives. Displays will recount winemaking history of Napa Valley.
To help visitors connect the wine with the processes that create it, the new center will be separated from the barrel cellar by a glass wall.
The grounds and patio around the cellar will get enhancements to complement outdoor seating.
Crafting the design of the new hospitality and retail center is Howard Backen of St. Helena-based Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects. The firm has been behind a number of high-profile North Coast winery, hospitality, restaurant, retail and custom-home projects. Winery credits include the new Ram’s Gate in Sonoma Valley, Paul Hobbs in Russian River Valley, Cliff Lede in Yountville and Harlan Estate in Oakville. Restaurant designs include Meadowood, Press, Evvia, Go Fish and Il Fornaio.
Degenkolb Engineers’ San Francisco office has returned to guide the structural integrity of the hospitality and retail center. The firm was involved in previous seismic retrofits to the listed historical landmark.
Commercial general contractor Andrews & Thornley Construction has guided a number of historic reconstruction and seismic retrofit projects as well as new wineries in Napa Valley. The Napa-based company will be guiding work at the job site.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the project is set for Aug. 7.
Charles Krug came to America in the mid-19th century as a 20-something Prussian immigrant and started the first winery in Napa Valley in 1861. He died in 1892, and James Moffitt operated the winery through Prohibition. Italian immigrant Cesare Mondavi, the namesake for C. Mondavi & Family, purchased the winery in 1943 for $75,000.
His son Peter Sr. and grandsons Marc and Peter Jr. finished a nine-year, $22 million capital project in 2010. More than 400 of the winery’s 850 Napa Valley vineyard acres were replanted and the winery was upgraded with state-of-the-art equipment.
C. Mondavi & Family produced 1.7 million cases of wine in 2011, mostly of the mass-market CK Mondavi brand.
The Charles Krug winery produces 75,000 cases a year, divided among three tiers. The Napa Valley and Carneros tier is distributed nationally to on-premise venues. The family reserve tier, including the Generations flagship cabernet sauvignon label, is an on-premise brand distributed to major markets. The limited-release tier has tiny-production labels of 100 to 500 cases annually, available only at the winery or by club and online orders.
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