CALIFORNIA: A series of events has been scheduled to mark the 100th anniversary of Robert Mondavi’s birth, a winemaker often credited with birthing the California wine industry with his visionary ambitions and rejection of mediocrity.
On what would have been his centennial birthday June 18, the Robert Mondavi Winery will be opening its doors to host a public toast in honor of the founder’s memory, with a glass of Napa Valley Fumé Blanc, along with cupcakes and a commemorative booklet.
Virtual well-wishers can also toast via Twitter with the hashtag #Mondavi100 and by visiting the winery’s Facebook page.
The winery will also rename one of its blocks ‘Robert’s Block’ in a private ceremony.
On June 29, singer Martina McBride will become the latest singer to grace the concert stages of the sprawling California estate which has likewise hosted the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett, and end in a fireworks display.
A limited-edition batch of 100 commemorative Riedel decanters will also be launched at the winery and online this month.
A lengthy obituary published in Wine Spectator in 2008 documents Mondavi’s impact on the California wine industry — the most significant legacy being his audacity to compare US wines to the best in Europe and present California wines as formidable rivals.
Mondavi came to the industry in the second half of his life, establishing the Robert Mondavi Winery at the age of 53. In addition to turning the winery into an instantly recognizable brand, Mondavi was a tireless ambassador for the California wine industry.
His award-winning wines gave him enough credibility to convince Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild to create Opus One wine in Napa Valley, the obit points out, which was created using a blend of French and California winemaking traditions.
More importantly, the collaboration also marked a turning point in the US wine industry, giving it credibility on the international stage.