Peter Mondavi, Napa Valley wine pioneer, has died at 101

SAN FRANCISCO -- Peter Mondavi, a Napa Valley wine country innovator who led his family's Charles Krug Winery through more than a half-century of change, has died.

See Full Article

He was 101.

Mondavi died Saturday at his home in St. Helena, California, said Wendy Lane Stevens, a member of the C. Mondavi and Family board of directors.

Mondavi, who battled his more famous brother Robert Mondavi for control of Charles Krug, began his career at a time when the Napa Valley was known chiefly for cheap wine and witnessed it grow into one of the world's premiere wine regions.

He played a part in that rise, pioneering a number of improvements to California winemaking, including the use of cold fermentation for white wines and sterile filtration. Charles Krug has been in the hands of the Mondavi family since 1943, when it was purchased by Mondavi's parents, Cesare and Rosa.

Peter and Robert ran the winery together after Cesare's death in 1959 but were unable to agree on management styles and split, with Robert founding the Robert Mondavi Winery in 1966. Later, the brothers reconciled and in 2005 celebrated their reunion by making a special blend of wine together.

Today, Peter Mondavi's sons lead the family business. Marc Mondavi heads the 1.4 million-case CK Mondavi Vineyards division, producer of a popular line of affordable wines, and Peter Jr. leads Charles Krug, producer of premium Napa Valley wines.

Born Nov. 8, 1914, the youngest of four children, Mondavi got his start as a boy packing boxes for his father's grape-shipping business. He went on to earn a degree in economics from Stanford University in 1937 and was drawn to the wine business, studying enology at the University of California, Berkeley.

World War II interrupted his career and Mondavi served in the military, returning stateside in 1946. Four years later he married Blanche Hurtzig, who died in 2010. The couple had three children, Marc, Peter Jr. and a daughter, Siena.

In his studies, Mondavi had researched the effects of cold fermentation on white and rose wines, which then were being fermented at higher temperatures which meant they lost their fruity character through oxidation. He applied what he learned at the winery to make fresher whites.

Charles Krug also was the first Napa Valley winery to import French oak barrels to use in aging wine, and in 1963 was among the first to vintage-date varietal wines.

Determined to keep the winery family owned despite corporate buyouts happening throughout the valley -- the Robert Mondavi Winery was sold to Constellation Brands in 2004 -- Peter Mondavi worked to preserve the family holdings, investing $24 million over a nine-year period to replant most of the vineyards and farm them sustainably. Today, the Peter Mondavi family owns 850 acres of prime vineyards in the Napa Valley.

Though he didn't run the day-to-day business, Mondavi continued to be a fixture at the office, climbing the two flights of stairs to his office even as a centenarian. He credited his stamina to good genes, hard work, pasta Bolognese -- and a daily glass of cabernet sauvignon.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • NAFTA's demise just one potential trigger for a market crash: Don Pittis

    Economic CBC News
    As stock markets have continued their relentless rise, investors watch fearfully for something that could trigger a rush for the exits. Although the date fell on a Thursday this year, yesterday was the 30th anniversary of 1987's Black Monday, when markets plunged about 23 per cent in a single session. Source
  • Sears Canada debacle one more reason to avoid extended warranties

    Economic CBC News
    When Karen Dwyer renovated the kitchen in her St. John's home last year, she bought all new appliances from Sears and spent extra on an extended warranty for each one. "For us, with the three appliances — the dishwasher, fridge, and stove — the three-year warranty totalled about $800 dollars," she said. Source
  • How super are those pricey 'superfoods'? Marketplace puts 3 of them to the test

    Economic CBC News
    Coconut water, quinoa and chia have three things in common: they're popular, they're expensive and they're often marketed as ultra-healthy "superfoods." Marketplacerecently reviewed the labels of nearly 100 so-called superfood products as part of an investigation to see whether the trend is actually about better health or simply marketing hype. Source
  • 'Nobody was happy': Alberta coal town Grande Cache struggles with mine closure

    Economic CBC News
    For the past year and a half, Clancy Feller has watched his friends and former co-workers pack up their homes and seek new opportunities anywhere else. It's a tough move for those leaving the picturesque Rocky Mountain town of Grande Cache, Alta. Source
  • Google parent company investing US$1B in Lyft

    Economic CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO -- Google’s parent company is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber. Alphabet Inc., which gets most of its money from Google’s digital ad network, is leading a $1 billion investment in Lyft that values the privately held company at $11 billion. Source
  • Asian stocks rise as speculation builds over next Federal Reserve boss

    Economic CTV News
    HONG KONG - Asian shares pushed higher on investor optimism over the global outlook despite uncertainties over the outcome of political events in China and Japan and speculation over Trump's choice for the next Fed chief. Source
  • Bombardier rail division president unfazed by global challenges it faces

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- None of the challenges facing Bombardier's railway business -- including the threat of lost streetcar contracts, a bribery investigation and a super-sized European rival -- will derail its plans to become a stronger, more profitable global competitor, division president Laurent Troger said Thursday. Source
  • PM briefs premiers on NAFTA developments, as more ministers bound for U.S.

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The Trudeau government briefed provincial premiers earlier this month on the contentious renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and expects many of them to return to the U.S. to push the pact, sources say. Source
  • PM briefs premiers on NAFTA developments, as more ministers head for U.S.

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- As negotiations to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement falter, the Trudeau government is expecting premiers and federal cabinet ministers to fan out across the United States to push the merits of the trilateral trade pact. Source
  • B.C. wineries join New Brunswick beer drinker in high court scrap over trade

    Economic CTV News
    VICTORIA -- British Columbia wine industry complaints about interprovincial trade barriers will be heard in the Supreme Court of Canada as part of an appeal of a cross-border beer dispute in New Brunswick. Vancouver lawyer Shea Coulson says five B.C. Source