Sunday, September 14th, 2014

The Pungent Barrel’s Grand Opening Goes Down in History!

Bottle, glass and red grape on a wooden table

The Pungent Barrel, wine country’s premiere destination for wine and cheese connoisseurs, opened its doors to critical praise on August 27. In addition to the mayor, the St. Helena Historical Preservation Council was on location to award the Pungent Barrel with the coveted Memory Lane Manor of the Year golden plaque.

After weeks of speculation over the building’s history as a functioning residence, owner, Babette Hampton provided evidence to support her claim that the old Jackson Bottlery, which was originally part of the Jackson Olive Plantation built in 1898, functioned as a residence during the summer of 1933. HPC council member, Nora Kincaid,

uncovered the photo and wedding announcement in the St. Helena archives which supported the claim that Randal Jackson Jr., who had been appointed by his father to oversee the building of the new Jackson Bottlery, converted the Olive Plantation carriage house into an apartment, where he and Susette Lewis, the daughter of a migrant picker, conducted a secret, summer long affair.

“Secret love nest or not,” Nora Kincaid explained. “Randal slept there enough to get a wife and daughter out of the bargain, which means there had to be a bed. And if it’s got a bed that makes it a residence.”