Robert Gerald Mondavi was born June 18, 1913--if he were alive today he would be 100 years old! Sadly, he left us in 2008, at the age of 94. I suspect that even if you are not involved in the wine industry, you have heard of Robert Mondavi. But you may not realize how important he was to the California wine industry. Mr. Mondavi's vision was that California wines could and should be equal to the finest wines in the world. Through his single-minded focus on the role of quality wine in a healthy and gracious lifestyle, Mr. Mondavi changed the focus of the California premium wine industry from generic "jug" wines to varietally focused wines (e.g. cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and pinot noir), elevating the entire California wine industry. Perhaps most importantly to me, he embodied the spirit of collegiality, the pursuit of excellence and the good life, factors that make the wine industry such a great place to work today.
Today we celebrate Mr. Mondavi's birthday with a bottle of his 2007 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc from his revered To Kalon Vineyard. We raise a glass to acknowledge Mr. Mondavi's contributions to the U.S. wine industry. Thanks, Bob!