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May 10, 2015

Raise a Glass to Mom This Mother’s Day

A sketch of Frances Korbel protesting the leaders in Prague.

Let’s face it, most of us wouldn’t be where we are today without the love and sacrifices of our mothers. They’ve kept us clean, safe and warm, often doing without so that we could have the best. It’s very possible that KORBEL California Champagne wouldn’t exist without such a special woman – the mother of Francis, Joseph and Anton Korbel.

In 1848, young Francis Korbel participated in a revolution against the Habsburg monarchy in Bohemia (current-day Czech Republic). At one of the protests, Francis was accused of firing a gun. He was arrested and sentenced to 17 years in Daliborka Prison in Prague. After two years, Francis was able to escape with the help of his mother, who hid civilian clothes underneath her own clothing during a visit to the prison. Francis changed into the civilian clothing, and calmly walked out of the unlocked prison gate to freedom.

Francis fled to Holland, and then made his way to New York, where Joseph and Anton joined him. Soon, they were lured West by the California Gold Rush. The Gold Rush was over by the time they got to California’s Russian River Valley, but the brothers worked successfully in the lumber and railroad industries before striking gold with the Korbel Winery and their fine California champagne – all because their mother risked her safety for the sake of her son.

So let’s raise a glass to Mrs. Korbel – and to all mothers. Happy Mother’s Day!

Toast Life