On May 20, Marc Mondavi, co-proprietor of Charles Krug Estate, spoke to patrons on the patio of Hyatt Lodge’s Water’s Edge Restaurant in Oakbrook, Ill. The well-attended event marked the reopening for events at the hotel, a growing trend in the on-premise industry as the world slowly reopens to re-establishment of its usual leisure and entertainment in the food and beverage space.

The event featured a five-course dinner of dishes curated by Executive Chef Joshua Karther, paired with five wines from the Charles Krug lineup. Tickets were $89-$109 a person plus tax, available via the hotel’s website or on OpenTable.

The tasting menu included a 2018 Sauvignon Blanc paired with Bristol Bay scallop and compressed watermelon; a 2018 Pinot Noir paired with maple leaf duck breast; a 2017 Family Reserve Generations paired with blackberry short rib; Cabernet Sauvignon-Howell Mountain paired with LHA Reserve filet mignon; and was capped off with a huckleberry tart dessert.

“The flavors of each wine have inspired the individual dishes that guests will enjoy throughout the evening,” Chef Karther said. “We have taken careful consideration of these notes so that the wines complement each dish perfectly, and enhance the overall dining experience.” 

Mondavi says that, interestingly, during the pandemic, the brand saw an uptick in interest from collectors with disposable income who weren’t able to spend money on lavish vacations or pricey dinners, and instead invested money in high-end wine.

“This is where our library releases — limited-edition three-packs of our Vintage Selection Cabernet Sauvignon that we have been offering for the past four years — have been especially appealing,” he says. “We also added an import wine (French Blue) to the C. Mondavi & Family portfolio for the first time in our history last year, which has helped us target a segment of the market that we previously weren’t able to capture with domestic-only wines.”

Along with a variety of upcoming wine releases, including the 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, Mondavi says as wine country reopens, Charles Krug is hosting a litany of events at the property.

“As a leader and innovator in Napa Valley hospitality, we’ve actively been building upon our offerings by expanding the depth and breadth of our events,” he says. “We want to continue to be the cultural hub of Napa Valley, especially within St. Helena, and the lineup of events/culinary offerings we have on site this year is certainly helping us achieve that.”

As more venues in the food, beverage and hospitality industries reopen to patrons once again for live events, a resurgence of in-person tastings likely will accompany the virtual tastings that gained a following during the highly precautious phases of the pandemic, for which both businesses and patrons are sure to be excited about.