Robert Mondavi just died. The Internet is buzzing with tributes, articles, blogs, comments on his legacy and what he means to the wine business and community.
As a European who discovered California wines in the ’90s, I mostly saw Robert Mondavi as the American winemaker who built a bridge between Europe and California. For Americans, Mondavi is the patriarch of the American wine industry, the charismatic winemaker who carried the image of American wines all over the globe and made the world aware of the growing quality and strength of American wines.
Mondavi was that and a lot more. He is the man who created Opus One with the Rothschilds, the man who contributed so much to Copia along with his friend Julia Child, knowing that wine and food are partners. He’s the man who invested in the Italian Ornellaïa and went back to his roots. He’s the man who understood that wine is a global cultural heritage and who tried to build a bridge between all wine cultures.
For all that and so much more, thank you, Mr. Mondavi.