St Helena History in California Wine
The Role of St Helena History on the Napa Valley Wine Industry
Henry Still founded St Helena in 1855. In 1861, Charles Krug established the first winery in Napa County just north of St Helena. Krug was one of the major producers of wine in the Napa Valley during the 19th century.
In 1876, two German brothers named Frederick and Jacob founded Beringer Vineyards. The St Helena Viticultural Club was established in the same year by local wine producers.
By the 1880s, there was close to 3,000 acres of vineyards and 14 wineries within the borders of the AVA. Unfortunately, the combination of phylloxera and Prohibition devastated the region’s wine industry.
Many established wineries, including Charles Krug, went out of business at the onset of Prohibition. Vineyards were converted to other agricultural products in the following years. Napa’s most famous family would be instrumental in the re-birth of the wine industry.
In 1943, Cesare Mondavi bought and restored Charles Krug Winery with his two sons, Peter and Robert. After two decades of collaboration, Peter bought out Robert’s stake in the winery after a bitter family feud. Robert would go on to found his own famous winery in Oakville.
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