The success story of this probably most famous Californian winemaking family began when Cesare Mondavi (1883-1959) emigrated in 1906 and two years later his wife Rosalia Angela (1890-1976) from the Marche region to Virginia in the US state of Minnesota. After a short career in iron mining, Cesare opened a saloon. The family enlarged by the two sons Robert Gerald (1913-2008) and Peter Rudolph (1914-2016). In 1922, the family moved California and founded in Lodi in the Central Valley a wholesale of grapes. For their own use, wine was also produced. In 1943, that was in 1861 by Charles jug (1825-1892) founded winery bought for $ 75,000. The two sons shared responsibility, Robert was responsible for marketing and Peter for the vineyards and vinification. They were by the famous oenologist André Tchelistcheff (1901-1994) supported.
The first winery in America introduced temperature controlled fermentation at the Charles Krug Winery. After the death of his father in 1959, the two brothers quarreled. The main reason was that the two could not agree on the direction and future of the winery. In 1965 there was an escalation with allegedly palpable clashes between the two (only 40 years later in 2005 there was a reconciliation). Robert Mondavi then founded in 1966 with son Michael, the winery "Robert Mondavi Winery" in Oakville, California Napa Valley, This was the first re-founding of a winery in the Napa Valley since the American prohibition (1920-1933). The buildings were designed in the Spanish mission style with a bell tower. Peter Mondavi led with his mother Rosa the Charles Krug Winery alone on.
The new property in Oakville has been greatly expanded and now includes the acquired at the inception vineyard To-Kalon (Oakville), acquired in 1969 Wappo vineyard (Stags Leap) and the 1988 acquired vineyard Huichica Hills (Carneros). The operation subsequently became the Californian and American standards for completely new cellar techniques. Specially was in the Barrique which Robert Mondavi specifically explored after visiting Europe. It was the famous "Fumé Blanc" created, a dry, matured in barrique white wine Sauvignon Blanc (on the Loire "Blanc Fumé").
Today are also top wines from the red wines Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot. Petit Verdot and Pinot Noir, as well as the white wine varieties Chardonnay, Riesling and Sémillon but also produced to others. A consistent "natural winegrowing / farming" (with European standard of a Organic viticulture ) has become the dominant Mondavi philosophy since 1970. Nevertheless, state-of-the-art, innovative production methods are used, which have since become the name of many other large companies precision viticulture became popular. For example, the calorific values of various vineyards are determined via satellite images in order to determine the optimal ripening times of the grapes. In the vineyards biotopes and forest spots are planted, nesting birds are expressly desired.
The Mondavi empire today consists of a dozen different labels and companies linked together in a bewildering and different way. These are the headquarters and headquarters of Robert Mondavi Winery (Oakville, Napa Valley), Robert Mondavi Coastal, La Famiglia di Robert Mondavi and Colmera, the former cooperative winery bought in 1979 Woodbridge in the town of the same name, the winery Arrowood Vineyards & Winery purchased in 2000 with the two labels Arrowood and Grand Archer (Glen Ellen, Sonoma County) and the Vichon Mediterranean winery founded in 1997 in Languedoc, France. There are also participations such as in Chile (joint venture with the Chadwick family, see Errázuriz ) and at the Australian winery Rosemount Estate (Joint venture with family Oatley). Together with Baron Philippe de Rothschild (1902-1988), the owner of the Château Mouton-Rothschild Robert Mondavi started the 50:50 joint venture back in 1979 in the Napa Valley Opus One with the eponymous topping red wine.
The vineyards cover a total of 1,300 hectares of vineyards including long-term contract vineyards. The wines are produced under different labels with different qualities or price ranges. For the most part it is varietals (Unmixed). Under Woodbridge , around 75 million bottles a year are produced around three quarters of the wines. This brand represents the lowest price segment. The series Twin Oaks also produced there is the upper class. Coastal Wines sells cheap California varietal wines (8.5 million bottles). Io wines are vinified in the Rhône style (Syrah). Under Vichon Languedoc-derived young wines in the winery in Oakville expanded (5 million bottles). And under the La Famiglia label by Robert Mondavi , wines are made from California-grown Italian varieties. In total, the Mondavi empire produces 100 million bottles of wine each year.
From the mid-1980s, Robert Mondavi gradually withdrew from the daily business, but retained the function of a "Brand Ambassador" (brand ambassador). Among other things, he represented the company in the Family Winery Association PFV (Primum Familiae Vini). From this illustrious circle Mondavi but in 2005 excreted by the sale to CB. His memoirs appeared in 1999 under the title "Harvest of Joy". Together with his wife Margrit, he founded "Galeria Copia" as "American Center of Wine, Food and the Arts" in 2001 as main sponsor in the city of Napa. It was intended to show the public that wine and food can influence culture and contribute to the quality of life.
Robert Mondavi sat down with it probably even during his lifetime a monument. In 1994, he appointed his son Michael Chief Executive Officer, and son Timothy became Managing Director and daughter of Marcia Management. The company was also transformed into a listed stock corporation. A major renovation program for the Napa Valley estate began in 1991. Up to the year 2001 a modern winery was created while keeping the original architecture, in which one waits without pumping the grape goods only by means of gravity, a gentle pressing by means of basket presses and in Barrels fermented from French oak.
At the end of the 1990s, sales problems arose particularly among the high-priced top brands, which caused major changes. After Timothy Mondavi retired from senior management in 2003 due to internal family disputes, in January 2004 Ted Hall (a member of the McKinsey consulting firm) appointed a non-family member for the first time and demoted Michael Mondavi to second. One hundred employees were terminated. In mid-2004, the share of Mondavis shares was reduced by conversion from 85 to 40%. Shortly thereafter, Michael Mondavi resigned from the management as Vice-President. The family Aria was coming to an end.
As a result, there were rumors that Mondavi should be split and focus only on the production of cheap Kosnum wines below $ 15 per bottle. That is, it should be repelled above all the parent company, the wineries Arrow and Byron, as well as the holdings in California, Italy and Chile. In December 2004 Mondavi finally became the world's largest wine company Constellation Brands accepted. The rumored purchase price of 1.36 billion dollars illustrates the size. This caused some changes. Thus was the earlier participation in the wineries Luce della Vita and Ornellaia abandoned in Italy and both now from the former partner Frescobaldi completely taken over.