What a wonderful experience to witness this annual tradition at two Napa Valley wineries this last Friday, August 30th. The blessing of the grapes is a tradition at both Grgich Hills (37th year) and at Robert Mondavi (48th year). Father Gordon Kalil from St. Helena’s Catholic Church gave the blessing at both ceremonies.
We had the opportunity to be at Grgich Hills at 10:00 for the blessing of the grapes and later at 11:30 for the blessing at the Robert Mondavi Winery. Two ageless legends of the famed Napa Valley were on hand to welcome visitors, staff and members of the media.
Blessing of the Grapes at Grgich Hills
At age 90, Mike Grgich may be slowing down a bit physically but his delivery of words is inspirational. In this short video, Mike Grgich gives us his words of wisdom about the Napa Valley and his Grgich Hills wines.
Blessing of the Grapes at Robert Mondavi
Still lively and energetic, Margrit Mondavi is the face of the Robert Mondavi winery. She is charismatic and always a great ambassador for the wines and foods of the Napa Valley. We also heard from winemaker Genevieve Jennsens. But it is really Margrit who garners all the attention. In her comments, she made mention that when we sip our Fumé Blanc at lunch the spirit of Robert Mondavi is in that glass of wine. His influence stills rings forth at the winery and throughout the Napa Valley. On a lighter note she quips on the health aspects of wine: “There are more old winemakers than there are old doctors.”
Following the blessing of the grapes, the invited guests were treated to a wonderful lunch. Even more meaningful is that each member of the staff at Robert Mondavi was also in attendance at the luncheon. It’s a magical scene to sit and look out onto the famed To Kalon Vineyards at Robert Mondavi.
The 2013 Harvest
Interestingly enough, we heard a contrasting view of the 2013 harvest from the winemakers at Grgich Hills and Robert Mondavi.
At Grgich Hill, assistant winemaker Ivo Jaramez says that this year’s harvest may even be better than the 2012 harvest. On the other hand Genevieve Jennsens, winemaker at Robert Mondavi, indicates that the harvest for Mondavi may be a challenge; the early harvest requires more attention to the winemaking process. Still, she is optimistic and is looking forward to rest of the 2013 harvest.
With the blessing of the grapes, we hope that both wineries have a very successful year throughout the 2013 harvest.