Celebrating 50 Years of Robert Mondavi Winery
“This is just the beginning.” —Robert Mondavi
When Robert Mondavi opened the doors of Robert Mondavi Winery in 1966, he was driven by a belief that he could make world-class wines from the vineyards of Napa Valley. Today, the winery celebrates its 50th anniversary as one of the most iconic institutions in American food and wine.
To mark this milestone, Director of Winemaking Geneviève Janssens and the winemaking team have created limited-edition 2013 Maestro, a harmonious blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Janssens calls Maestro “a serious wine with a humble soul.”
In addition to this new wine, a commemorative 50th anniversary label will also adorn new releases of some of the most enduring bottlings from Robert Mondavi Winery: the 2015 Napa Valley Fumé Blanc, 2014 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and the winery’s hallmark 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve sourced from their renowned To Kalon Vineyard.
A history of quality
Robert Mondavi’s parents immigrated to Minnesota from central Italy. After visiting Lodi, California, Robert’s father chose to move the family there because the climate, the landscape, and the way of life all reminded him of the Italian countryside.
In 1943, Robert took charge of the family wine business, and in 1966, he established his namesake winery in nearby Oakville, California, at the heart of Napa Valley. For the home of his winery, he chose 12 acres of To Kalon Vineyard, one of the finest for growing Cabernet Sauvignon in the world. He chose To Kalon because “It has ideal soils, sunlight, and rain. It has a magical nature.” And it’s from this first-growth vineyard that Robert Mondavi began his quest to bring world-class Napa Valley wines to the world. The vineyard has since grown to encompass 450 uniquely complex and resilient acres that provide a perfect foundation for fine-quality grapes to thrive, from season to season, under a broad range of growing conditions that allow the winemaking team to produce wines with elegant, concentrated flavors and fine tannins.
The winery was designed by renowned architect Cliff May to be not just a functional facility, but one of beauty that would welcome visitors something unheard of at the time to enjoy great wine, gourmet food, and the arts. Guests are greeted by a sculpture of St. Francis created by artist Beniamino Bufano, whose work is featured throughout the winery as part of the permanent collection. The winery hosts events throughout the year, like the popular annual summer concert series which has featured performances from artists including Ella Fitzgerald, k. d. lang, and Colbie Caillat. Blues Traveler, Ingrid Michaelson, and O.A.R. will be among the performers appearing this summer.
In 2000, under the direction of Robert Mondavi, the winery opened the To Kalon Cellar, a state-of-the-art production and barrel-aging facility. The cellar was created to be a complement in both beauty and quality to the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in To Kalon Vineyard. It is home to 56 French oak fermenters, one for each block of Cabernet Sauvignon in the vineyard. Only the finest fruit, at the peak of sugar and acid, is taken to the To Kalon Cellar.
In 2016, fifty years after his winery’s founding, Robert Mondavi’s legacy of leadership, passion, and generosity continues to inspire the winemaking team to reach ever higher. Recently added to the team, and working closely with Geneviève Janssens, are Joe Harden and Megan Schofield. A graduate of the University of California at Davis’s oenology program, Joe played professional minor-league basketball before returning to his first love, wine. Says Joe, “I have to pinch myself frequently to make sure this isn’t a dream.” Megan, a native of Canada’s Niagara wine region, has worked in Napa Valley and Sonoma County throughout her career. Says Megan, “I have everything I could ever hope for as a winemaker at this celebrated Napa estate, and I’m excited for what lies ahead.”
ROBERT MONDAVI WINERY 2013 NAPA VALLEY MAESTRO
Merlot leads this easy-to-enjoy wine. It’s smooth and rich with black fruit and mocha aromas and fresh, mouthfilling cherry flavors.
ROBERT MONDAVI WINERY 2015 NAPA VALLEY FUMÉ BLANC
Crafted from Sauvignon Blanc with a touch of Sémillon, this wine offers zesty citrus aromas with fragrant peach and pineapple, followed by mouthwatering lemon-lime blossom flavors and tantalizing minerality.
ROBERT MONDAVI WINERY 2014 NAPA VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON
Rich, silky, and balanced, this wine offers deep aromas and flavors of blackberries, dark plums, and dried herbs.
ROBERT MONDAVI WINERY 2013 CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVE
The nose is very fragrant with beautiful toasted notes from barrel aging. The flavors are bold and deep with black fruit. It’s rounded and silky, with a lengthy finish—everything Robert Mondavi liked in his Cabernet Sauvignon.