Passages – Wine Pioneer Robert Mondavi – dies at 94

Today’s news included the passing of Robert Mondavi, one of those early Napa Valley winemakers. See AP story here.

After the day’s adventures with the “Cooking for Solutions” crew, including a lunch at Earthbound Farms (pioneers, themselves) and a visit to one of the handful of abalone farmers in the country, we were shuttled back to the Hotel Casa Munras. On the way home, I noticed the flags at the bank were flown at half-mast. I didn’t know who had died.

Mondavi and his brood were, as many entrepreneurs and pioneers are, a tough bunch. It seems the characters are the ones who get things done. Like founding Copia. Mondavi and wife Margrit had pledged, millions to help found the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, in Napa and gave $35 million to the University of California, Davis a school long known for their viticultural program.

It was nice to learn that Mondavi and his brother reconciled before he died. Whatever the family drama, they changed the face of the wine world forever and had much to do with the profile of California wine getting its due.

Have a toast to the late Robert Mondavi tonight.

 

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