How Entrepreneur Robert Mondavi Changed Wine Forever

How Entrepreneur Robert Mondavi Changed Wine Forever

The wine world is filled with entrepreneurs.

But if pressed to pick one that has truly changed Napa Valley, no one would argue the name Robert Mondavi.

He was an innovator, brilliant marketer and champion, not only for his own wines, but for all of Napa Valley. His life-long mission was to prove that Napa Valley was one of the world’s most outstanding wine regions. 

And he succeeded.

I recently had the privilege of attending a wine-tasting dinner in Manhattan that kicked off the 50th Anniversary of the Robert Mondavi Winery. Genevieve Janssens, director of winemaking, poured wines that dated as far back as 1976.

But the real story starts in 1966, 50 years ago, when Robert opened the first new winery in the Napa Valley after the 1933 repeal of prohibition. Robert went on to win lifetime achievement awards, such as Winemaker of the Year by the American Wine Society, was inducted into the California Hall of Fame and even carried the Olympic torch in 1996 at age of 83.

RELATED: My Conversation with Ovid Winemaker Austin Peterson

And with all his wonderful achievements, his life story still reads like a Shakespearean novel that includes family drama, interfamily lawsuits and even brotherly fist fights. You can go to Google for that grist or, better yet, read The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty, by Julia Flynn Siler.

What’s relevant here what we can learn from Robert Mondavi, the consummate entrepreneur. 

So read on here for the inspiring details.


And you know I would love to hear your thoughts on this, the wines you are drinking or anything else…so send a quick note!  Thanks!

Tracy Byrnes has what many might call a dream gig, matching a career as an experienced and well-respected business... More about Tracy Byrnes

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