Robert Gerald Mondavi June 18, 1913–May 16 2008 was a leading American vineyard operator whose technical improvements and marketing strategies brought worldwide recognition for the wines of the Napa Valleyin California. From an early period, Mondavi aggressively promoted labeling wines by variety rather than generically. This is now the standard for New World Wines
In 1968 he made a dry oak-aged Sauvignon Blanc, an unpopular variety in California at the time, and labeled it "Fumé Blanc". The wine was a success and, in time, Fumé Blanc became accepted as a synonym for Sauvignon Blanc.
Mondavi successfully developed a number of premium wines that earned the respect of connoisseurs and vintners alike. In 1979, he built the Mondavi Woodbridge Winery in Lodi, California developing it into a leader of popular-premium wines. He also entered into a joint venture the Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Château Mouton Rothschild to create Opus One Winery, and since the 1990s has set up joint ventures with local partners in Europe, South America and Australia.
In the Grand European Jury Wine Tasting of 1997, the Robert Mondavi Chardonnay Reserve was ranked number one.
In Robert Mondavi was nominated and inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame by the Culinary Institute of America. The election was based upon ballots from seventy wine journalists. The decision for their election of Mondavi is for contributions to the wine industry of California during his life-time.
Inductions with Robert Mondavi on March 7, 2007 included Agoston Haraszthy, Andre Tchelistcheff, Georges de Latour, Charles Krug, Gustave Niebaum, Brother Timothy, Maynard Amerine and Harold Olmo.
2005 Robert Mondavi and his younger brother Peter made wine together for the first time after their feud. Using grapes from both family vineyards, they produced one barrel of cabernet blend, which was sold under the name "Ancora Una Volta" ("Once Again")
Robert Mondavi died at his Yountville home on May 16, 2008 at the age of 94.
We never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Mondavi in person but his legacy will go on forever and all of us in the Food and Wine Industry owe our professional existence to him. Join Vino Las Vegas in raising a glass of California Sparkling wine and say " Thank you Mr Mondavai , Cheers !