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

  • Ontario transit agency won't let Bombardier bid to operate commuter trains

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Ontario's transit agency has decided not to appeal a court ruling favouring Bombardier but will exclude the Montreal-based company from bidding to continue operating GO Transit trains as it has done for decades. Source
  • Business groups blast Ontario labour proposals on last day of consultations

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Unions and advocacy groups made one last effort Friday to sway the Ontario government on its plan for sweeping changes to the province's labour laws, with some sounding the alarm about what they deem drastic measures and others arguing the proposal doesn't go far enough. Source
  • Marijuana companies band together to develop marketing guidelines

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Sixteen of Canada's licensed marijuana producers have enlisted the help of Advertising Standards Canada to develop guidelines on how the drug should be branded and promoted before its recreational use becomes legal next year. Source
  • Husky Energy set to repair pipeline that spilled crude into river a year ago

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- Husky Energy (TSX:HSE) says it has been granted permission to repair and replace a section of pipeline that leaked 225,000 litres of crude in Saskatchewan just over a year ago. Chief executive Robert Peabody said that it will be applying lessons learned from the spill on the rebuild. Source
  • Ford says it will fight latest Takata recall

    Economic CTV News
    DETROIT -- Ford is fighting the latest expansion of the Takata air bag inflator recall. Earlier this month Takata filed documents with the U.S. government adding 2.7 million vehicles to the recall from Ford, Nissan and Mazda. Source
  • FedEx to close all Office Print and Ship Centres across Canada

    Economic CTV News
    FedEx Canada has announced that it will be closing all of its FedEx Office Print and Ship Centres, across Canada. All 24 centres, the manufacturing plant, and the head office in Toronto will close. Source
  • Car buying pushes retail sales up for third month in a row in May

    Economic CBC News
    Strong auto sector activity helped Canadian retail sales activity rise for a third straight month in May, climbing by 0.6 per cent to $48.9 billion, Statistics Canada said Friday. The monthly increase was double the consensus expectation of economists Source
  • Judge OKs $11.2M settlement for hacked Ashley Madison users

    Economic CTV News
    ST. LOUIS -- A federal judge on Friday approved an US$11.2 million settlement between the marital infidelity website Ashley Madison and users who sued after hackers released personal information, including financial data and details of their sexual proclivities. Source
  • Judge OKs US$11.2M settlement for hacked Ashley Madison users

    Economic CTV News
    ST. LOUIS -- A federal judge on Friday approved a US$11.2 million settlement between the marital infidelity website Ashley Madison and users who sued after hackers released personal information, including financial data and details of their sexual proclivities. Source
  • What drug-dealing 'darknet' sites have in common with eBay

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- AlphaBay, the now-shuttered online marketplace that authorities say traded in illegal drugs, firearms and counterfeit goods, wasn't all that different from any other e-commerce site, court documents show. Not only did it work hard to match buyers and sellers and to stamp out fraud, it offered dispute-resolution services when things went awry and kept a public-relations manager to promote the site to new users. Source