Considered by many (but not by me) to be the father of Napa Valley wine, Charles Krug is oftentimes credited with the notable distinction, in Napa wine-lore, of making the first commercial wine (and building the first commercial winery.) This is simply not true: the real star of the birth of the Napa Valley wine industry was, fee-fi-fo-fum...an Englishman!
Born in Lincolnshire in 1797, after much traveling around the United States John M. Patchett was 53 years old when he arrived in Napa in 1850. He proceeded to purchase a 100 acre parcel that became known as 'Patchett's Addition' and planted a vineyard of Mission grapes - the grape variety first brought to California by Franciscan monks. In 1857, Patchett harvested and crushed enough grapes to produce 6 barrels of wine which he then sold for $2 per gallon, thus becoming the first commercial winemaker ever in the Napa Valley. Then in 1859, he solidified his position into Napa wine-history by building the first commercial winery in the Valley, a 33' x 50' stone structure located in what is now downtown Napa. German immigrant Krug began his oenological journey in Napa by making wine at Patchett's winery, eventually founding his own in 1861.
Patchett, a brewer by trade, was by the mid 1860s considered to be the preeminent vintner in the entire Napa Valley. He continued to make wine until 1870, when at age 73 he sold his business and retired. John M. Patchett passed away in 1876 and is buried in Tulocay Cemetery. This is not just some fairytale, it is historical fact. It could only possibly have been made better if Mr. Patchett had hailed from Liverpool....all the best wine experts do don't they?