Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mondavi Family Legacy

A few days ago, Robert Mondavi passed away. If you like wine, you might recognize his name. He helped put California wines on the map. After his father's death, Robert and his brother, Peter, took over the family wine business. The two of them could not get along and parted ways. Robert was so successful that he made the Mondavi name, and wine, famous. Peter continued to make wine but never with as much success as Robert.

I'm not an expert on wine, by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I'm an amateur. I'm trying to develop a taste for red wine but currently, the only thing in my wine rack is Sutter Home White Zinfandel. Mondavi wine was one of the first ones I tried when I began the quest to find out what I liked so I'm feeling kind of sentimental.

The Mondavi story is both fascinating and sad. Like many family businesses, there were disagreements that led to the parting of ways. Before Robert and Peter fell out, they had one of the most successful labels in the Napa Valley. Robert's business did well until fighting between he and his sons, coupled with poor financial choices, destroyed the empire. The business was bought by the world's largest wine company in 2004.

I didn't know any of the family history until I learned that Robert passed away. I don't think I'll look at Mondavi wine the same again. I think I'll look at it, see the beauty of the bottle and label, but think back to the strife in their family. A sad ending to an amazing wine making career.......

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Ron Paul 2008