Trade mourns Mondavi

30 May, 2008

The world of wine is mourning Robert Mondavi, who has died aged 94 at his Napa Valley home.

Described by Constellation Brands as "the founder of the modern US fine wine industry and a global symbol of American wine", Mondavi started his winery in 1966 - the first major winery built in Napa since Prohibition.

He pioneered techniques including cold fermentation, stainless steel tanks and the use of French oak barrels and helped spearhead California's ass ault on export markets.

In 1979

he joined forces with Baron Philippe de Rothschild, creating the Opus One Winery, and also bought a winemaking co-operative that he named Woodbridge. He further expanded his horizons through international partnerships with the Frescobaldi family in Italy and Eduardo Chadwick, of Viña Errazuríz in Chile.

The Mondavi Corporation was acquired in 2004 by Constellation Brands , whose president, Rob Sands, said: "Robert's longevity allowed him to influence generations of winemakers and wine consumers around the world.

"We are proud and privileged to have known the father of contemporary Californian wine - someone whose influence spans the globe and is timeless.

"His contributions to viticulture, viniculture and Constellation Brands are immeasurable."




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Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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