When I first came to California, I had solid PR credentials. With 11 years in WBLM radio broadcasting as their publicist, I knew all about radio broadcasting and not only creating, but also keeping their public file.

What I didn’t have was the slightest knowledge about wine. Still, I was ready to take it on.

So, I applied to Charles Krug Winery’s position of PR director. They were so kind to me. We all got along immensely, and they knew I fit their culture… but – big BUT… I didn’t know one wine writer and knew virtually nothing about wine. I can’t blame them for turning me away; but, they did so in the kindest possible way, seriously. They told me to study up on wine, in my process, and perhaps another day they could entertain my credentials.

I began a tasting room job at Belvedere Winery in 1993, taking an associate degree, 60-unit program, at Santa Rosa Junior College; and within five years my business card read “Communications Director – District Manager.” (My states were Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Ohio, Minnesota, Idaho, and Puerto Rico.) I had competed my 60 units, and had come of age.

Then everything has fast forwarded to now. And, I’ve just returned to Charles Krug Winery; not as an employee, but one of their honored guests. This is just a small piece of their story.

[PHOTO: Property of the Charles Krug Winery’s Website.]

The Charles Krug Winery ~ Mondavi Family

Peter Mondavi Family Estate, established in 1861

It wasn’t that long ago; but still, some has passed and the savory memories still brightly linger. Swept up with summer, grandkids in the pool, another season of #NanaGrampCamp, and off to Europe… with CK Mondavi on my mind, I would have to revisit the visit. And, now’s the perfect time.

I attended their great party in Napa, in May, in the drizzle, who knew it would rain in May? No matter where I’ve gone and what I’ve done since, it’s been on my mind as that fabulous opportunity. So, today, this is my event sharing…

It was such an honor to be among so few people, hosted by such a historic Napa Valley, iconic family… A delicious time was had by all.

All guests had the opportunity to play bocce ball, to then enjoy their latest releases of wines, which were also paired by a delicious barbecue with hosts Janice, Marc, and Riana Mondavi, at their home.

When I arrived, I was greeted by a very familiar face… the artwork. When working with the Suisun Valley Vintners & Growers Association, I was introduced to sculptor Philip Glashoff’s work… And here was one of his pieces. I knew this was going to be a great day… People who love and support the arts are my kind of people. More on Philip Glashoff: https://www.facebook.com/glashoffgallery

So, this was going to be a bocci ball day… with developed credentials. I arrived few minutes late, due to the drizzle and slippery conditions. Who knew it would do this in May? I was greeted with a fun CK Mondavi and Family sangria, and appetizers from Pitmaster, Matt Horn.

11:15 a.m.: Bocce history and how to play the game from Greg Travers, Commissioner of the Martinez Bocce Federation

Class was in session and I decided to record it, because, I’ve got Bocce down; except, how hard I’d have to be throwing heavier balls to have any impact. Interesting note: Pétanque’s little ball is called a Cochonnet… Translated is little piglet. Target ball in Bocci is called a Pallina, and simply translates to “ball.”

Yup… puppy on the bocci court. Is anything going to be safe?

… and the gardens… I love gardens. I call one of mine “Provence,” because it holds all of my herbs. Never, in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever be freshly back from Provence, too. But here I am, back in the Mondavis’ garden spaces. I found the Mondavi gardens just so refreshing in a beautiful, country setting.

Sculpture… and a BBQ with pork? Yeah, I could see their passion, and then tasted it, with wine and foods paired.

The straight on lineup of what we tasted… And I still find it remarkable that this wine is only $6.99 a bottle. Economy of scale allows for great pricing, which benefits consumers. I’d never think twice about picking up a bottle of CK Mondavi wines, based on what I got to experience.

Riana Mondavi told her family history. “CK Mondavi and Family wines are bottled in the Napa Valley by the iconic C. Mondavi & Family. For consumers desiring consistently delicious, everyday wines, CK Mondavi and Family wines over deliver for the price point. Based in the Napa Valley for almost seventy-five years, CK Mondavi and Family’s grapes are 100% sourced from California vineyards, utilizing sustainable farming techniques and winemaking practices that are more typical of expensive wines. Their relentless commitment to quality winemaking and hands-on small lot sourcing sets them apart from other value wines. A large portion of the grapes in CK Mondavi and Family wines are estate grown on the family’s 1,850 acres of vineyard property and the family is committed to working with American growers that they’ve had partnerships with for generations. CK Mondavi and Family are the first and only wines 100% “Made in USA Certified®” and the family produces wines that are consistent, vintage-to-vintage, providing consumers with a value and quality they can rely on. Today, CK Mondavi and Family remains one of the most successful wine brands in America because of its excellent quality and great value.

We had the Moscato and dessert with BACON! Sorry, excitedly, I got a little memory jolt. My friend Susanne Carlberg (Christopher Bridge Winery in Oregon City, Oregon) told me, “this totally works … at our house!” Yeah, now me, too.

That’s why I’m here enjoying this story to tell, I can honestly say. Fruit bombs they’re not. I have what’s called a “super palate.” (More taste buds than what’s considered “normal.” I don’t need a fruit bomb to hit my palate over the head, with a sledge hammer. Slow and easy does it… That’s what these wines are. Great for people just entering the wine world, set at the perfect price to make them affordable. I highly recommend any of these CK Wines, for easy enjoying pleasure.

Now, I’m going to share the bottle shots that I took. While they speak for themselves visually, pay attention to their back label’s statement, remembering that each bottle gives you a perfect snapshot… no hype, no hyperboles; just honest information to make your experience more enjoyable. This is a great writing success, in my opinion. Also, notice the low alcohol level of 13.6? Yeah, see it in the 13 percent range and you can bet it’s food friendly.


As I once heard my friend Emiliano Bernardi of Colonnara | Vini e Spumanti say, “Ciao, ciao, ciao!