Happy Thanksgiving from WBM! We are thankful for all of our readers, and of course, wine, the fruits of our labor! What will you be enjoying with your turkey tonight?
“Well, I’ll tell you, it’s the greatest thing to be here with all of you people,” Peter Mondavi Sr. said, shortly before he blew out the candles on Saturday night. “It’s a fun evening and we’re looking forward to a great future. I’ve been in this business for seventy years. I love the people and the ups and downs, and there’s more to be done. I’m happy to be part of it. Thank you for coming.”
Peter Mondavi Sr. turned 99 November 8, and last weekend three branches of the Mondavi family came together to celebrate not only his birthday but other milestones as well.
|"We need to compliment and help each other and drive our business forward as friendly, complimentary competitors. I’m very proud of bringing the family back together.” -Marc Mondavi|
Peter Sr. was fully engaged and alert. Asked what keeps him so youthful, he replied, “ “Everything in moderation.”
“The secret to dad’s youthfulness, is not only a glass of wine every day, but his passion for the business,” Peter Mondavi Jr. later said. “He comes into work every day. He popped into my office this afternoon. So, when I say everyday, that’s seven days a week.”
Wine has been a Mondavi family business for four generations. Cesare Mondavi was an Italian immigrant who grew grapes in Lodi during Prohibition and established roots in Napa in 1943, purchasing Charles Krug winery.
|" ... thank God we’ve done our own wines and gone our separate ways and we’ve come together to break bread together and to share what we’re doing.” - Rob Mondavi|
Festivities started with a dinner at Continuum Estate on Pritchard Hill, celebrating the near completion of a new estate winery, the completion of a successful crush at the new winery and the 100th birthday of Robert Mondavi. The extended family then met up for a lunch the next day at Michael Mondavi’s Tuscan-style estate, prior to a gala dinner celebration for Peter Mondavi Sr. at Charles Krug a few hours later.
In addition to recent Michael Mondavi Family releases, Michael Mondavi served 1965 Charles Krug Cabernet, representing the last vintage in which Robert Mondavi and Peter Mondavi Sr. worked together; as well as the 1974 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet, which both Tim Mondavi and Michael Mondavi worked on together.
The 65’ and 74’ were both well-preserved and vibrant.
“Mike, thank you so much for selecting the wines we’re having now,” Tim Mondavi said. “The 74’, when we worked together – that’s a powerful symbol, as is the symbol of the 65’ with dad and Peter. Thank you for you generosity and sweetness in thinking that through and sharing it with all of us."
“I’m really thankful to be part of this family – and thank God we’ve done our own wines and gone our separate ways and we’ve come together to break bread together and to share what we’re doing,” Rob Mondavi said. “Because, as Marcia very eloquently said last night, we have gone our separate ways, but our heart, and passion and soul is still here in the land with the wines and in creating wine and sharing that with you.”
“Michael, Tim, Marcia, all the fourth generation: This is a very pivotal moment in our families,” Marc Mondavi said as lunch was winding down. “My dad and my uncle got into a beef. ... Anyway, they separated, and I still have people that think my dad and my uncle never patched it up. I simply tell them, ‘if they didn’t patch it up, why did they have dinner and lunch every month?’ Fortunately, they got back together. Michael, Tim, and Marcia: we were in the background for all of this and we always got along. We always did. It’s great that we’re all back together. My God, we’ve got 200,000 competitors in the world – and the three families, Tim, Marcia, Michael, and ours, my brother Peter, and myself. We need to compliment and help each other and drive our business forward as friendly, complimentary competitors. I’m very proud of bringing the family back together.”
The partying that continued with birthday dinner for Peter Sr. coincided with the unveiling of a multi-million dollar renovation of the Redwood Cellar at Charles Krug Winery. The new hospitality center is housed in the original 1872 Redwood Cellar that was once a production space filled with redwood tanks.
Designed by Howard Backen of Backen, Gillam and Kroeger, (who also designed the Continuum winery) the renovation showcases the scale of the building while preserving the patina of time with steel beams, wooden posts and re-purposed raw redwood wall finishes with wood taken from the old production tanks. It’s incredible. One has to see it to fully appreciate it.
Architect John Taft recounted his first meeting with Peter Sr. to discuss the project and how Peter Sr. brought many pages of notes and sketches he’d been working on for the past twenty years prior to the transformation of the original building.
“Optical sorting brings a level of quality to the fruit and a level of consistency impacting what the winemaker can count on in managing the production of wine. We’re in the midst of an industry game-changer.”
-Marcus Seiden, Wine Realty International
From the article "Worker Training for the New Wave of Technologies," page 58 in the November issue of WBM. The November issue can now be viewed online here.
I have been waiting for this announcement since 2009 when I last wrote about rainwater harvesting in the June issue of Wine Business Monthly. It has taken far longer than it should have but the following press release finally validates everything many have been advocating for years.
Now that the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) has joined forces with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and National Science Foundation (NSF) there is nothing to hold the winery back from pursuing this wonderfully viable and sustainable resource.
One of the major drivers of this movement has been the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) who have written the book about rainwater harvesting.
I will be discussing this in greater detail in the March 2014 issue of WBM, from design to sizing, and also interviewing some wineries that already successfully farms the skies.
The recent news that, "grapes and the wines they produce are also the product of an unseen but fairly predictable microbial terroir" may not come as much of a surprise to anyone studying soil and vine microbiota, but all the same "Microbial biogeography of wine grapes is conditioned by cultivar, vintage, and climate" (PNAS November 25, 2013) should stand as a fairly significant piece of research.
In the long run, the potential ability to distinguish the source region of a must is likely to prove the most notable result of this research. However, it should be noted that the experiment was conducted on newly crushed and inoculated must and not on finished wine. As such the main potential benefit would be for wineries looking to verify the provenance of grapes that they are receiving and not to verify the regional authenticity of any finished wine.
UCD Press Release link: news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10762
Original article at PNAS Early Edition (PDF): pnas.org/content/early/2013/11/20/1317377110.full.pdf
“If we can keep going in this direction and keep the quality, it’s the future of high-volume winemaking in Washington. I’m thrilled and excited. It’s pretty cool.”
-Juan Muñoz-Oca, Columbia Crest
From the article "Case Study: Washington Winery Installs Self-emptying Tanks," page 26 in the November issue of WBM. The November issue can now be viewed online here.
Tables to Farms, a program launched by Front Range chefs and restaurateurs as a direct way to help Boulder County farmers whose crops were lost or severely damaged by the September floods, has already raised over $40,000. Diners can still give to the cause at www.tablestofarms.com, or by booking their next reservation online at OpenTable.com and clicking on the “Tables to Farms” link. The idea came from a conversation Bradford Heap, chef/owner of SALT Bistro in Boulder and Colterra Food and Wine in Niwot, had with his neighbor, John Bachman of Big Red F Restaurant Group. SALT and Colterra will donate $1 for every reservation made through the month of November.
North Carolina's Biltmore Estate Wine Company has relaunched its Pas de Deux sparkling wine as a separate brand, and will target younger female wine buyers. A sec-style sparkling wine, Pas de Deux was first released by Biltmore in 2004.
The company said the wine was inspired by the sparkling wines of Italy, and Sharon Fenchak is the winemaker responsible for crafting the 100% Muscat Canelli sparkling wine. Originally released under the moniker Pirouette, the wine was renamed Pas de Deux – a ballet term translating to ‘step of two’ – to evoke images of shared celebration.
“Sparkling wine is trending very strongly right now, especially with younger wine consumers,” says President of Biltmore Estate Wine Company, Jerry Douglas. “We try to stay on top of what our customers want, and our new Pas de Deux is just that: a fun, lively sparkling wine of exceptional quality, priced for any occasion.”
The two-day AgWISE Symposium, presented by the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, in partnership with AgSafe, will focus on farmworker safety, health, and human resources issues specifically tailored to agricultural operations located in Northern California. The AgWISE Symposium features 40 sessions, available in both English and Spanish.
The deadline for early registration deadline at a discounted rate is today, Friday, November 22, 2013.
Click here for more information and to register.
At a Special Olympics benefit at the winery last weekend, Willamette Valley Vineyards debuted a wine it created for Governor Kitzhaber and his wife, Cylvia Hayes.
Known as the Governor’s Cuvee, it is 100% Pinot Noir, the state’s signature variety.
The Governor’s wife wanted a big, bold wine and this delivered. Most of the fruit came from the Momtazi Vineyard, of the Maysara Winery. The wine is very closed and tight right now and will need time to evolve.
The Governor and his wife seemed very pleased with the wine.
Willamette Valley Vineyards only bottled one barrel of the wine. Attendees at the Special Olympics dinner each received one and the remaining bottles are destined for the Governor’s wine cellar.