Saturday, May 20, 2006

Mondavi... Revisited

Thank you to my good friend Oona and my husband Mark for being so attentive when listening to NPR. They have been able to clarify the Mondavi question that was puzzling me this week. As you may recall from an earlier post, I was questioning whether there was any relation between the two Mondavi California wineries -- CK Mondavi and Robert Mondavi. The websites from both wineries were completely mum on the topic, and an email to CK Mondavi asking the question has gone unanswered. It appeared from reading the bio information on the wineries' websites that CK Mondavi was started in the early 1940's by Italian immigrants Cesar and Rosa Mondavi, and that the Robert Mondavi winery was founded in the mid 1960's by (you guessed it) Robert Mondavi. But it turns out that the wineries are in fact connected...

Cesasr and Rosa Mondavi purchased the Charles Krug winery in 1943 and ran it as a family business for 20 years. However, two of their sons - Peter and Robert (only 14 months apart in age) - had constant battles on how the winery should be run. Peter was the more conservative brother, Robert the more risk-taking. The two finally came to blows (literally, they had a fist fight) in 1965, followed by a court battle, which resulted in Robert Mondavi at 52 years old starting from scratch with his own winery. So actually there is a major connection between the two Mondavis!

The really interesting thing is that after years of not speaking, both Mondavi brothers, now in their 90's, decided to reunite as a symbolic gesture to make one last barrel of wine together. According to an Associated Press story, the new wine is a cabernet blend made "half from grapes from Peter Mondavi's Yountville vineyards and half from the Robert Mondavi Oakville ToKalon vineyards." Don't expect to find this one in stores folks - the one barrel was auctioned off at the 2005 Napa Valley charity auction for $401,000, and will be ready to drink this August. (Boy, would I like to get my hands on a bottle of that!) But at least it's a happy ending for the brothers, who chose a fitting name for the final wine - "Alcora Una Volta" which translates to "Once Again."

Want to learn more about the brothers and their fight? Click here to listen to an NPR story on the topic. Interested in reading the description of the $401,000 wine that was auctioned off? Click here and scroll down to #3 - it's worth a read.


Blogger knowlengr said...

NPR rules.

10:33 PM  

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