|Tim Mondavi, front, wearing a white shirt, speaks to a guest during the 50th Anniversary of Robert Mondavi Winery. The late Robert Mondavi started the business with a modest loan. "My father was able to make great things happen out of nothing - other than great spirit," Tim Mondavi said Saturday.|
Hundreds of visitors came to Oakville Saturday to celebrate Robert Mondavi Winery’s 50th anniversary with wine, food, music and cheers.
The festivities, which drew an estimated 2000 people, included a special event for dozens of present and former employees and other guests.
Speakers recalled the contribution of the winery under founder Robert Mondavi in establishing the Napa Valley into a world-renowned wine region and introducing the American palate to fine wines.
“There was a great spirit that brought this place to life and brought California wine to life from a time that was very quiet,” said Tim Mondavi, who was 15 when his late father Robert Mondavi founded the winery next to To Kalon Vineyard.
His older brother, Michael, would slow down traffic and invite visitors to tour the winery. Michael Mondavi drew laughs from the crowd gathered at the Vineyard Room when he recalled how his father had listed his “wife, three children and clothes” as assets before managing to obtain a loan to break ground. “We were not bankable back then,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and Napa County Supervisor Diane Dillon, were both teenagers in the Napa Valley on July 16, 1966, when the ground breaking of the future Robert Mondavi Winery took place.
On Saturday, Thompson saluted the employees, past and present, and the Mondavi family, including Robert Mondavi’s wife, Margrit.
“Robert Mondavi did so much for our valley,” said Thompson who presented the winery’s general manager, Glenn Workman, with a framed copy of his remarks he read into the record on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on July 16. Thompson praised the winery for having achieved “great success in producing high quality wines and advancing the art of winemaking” and for having been “a notable leader in pioneering environmentally sustainable agricultural practices to preserve our valley’s land for future generations.”
Thompson on Saturday highlighted the contributions of past and present employees to the success of the winery. “Employees make or break you and there is no question that the Mondavi family understood that and Constellation is carrying on.” Constellation Brands Inc. has owned the winery since 2004.
Dillon presented Workman with a copy of a proclamation that will be read at the next Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.
She noted the winery opened two years before the establishment of the agricultural preserve to protect the valley from development. At the time, the valley risked being paved over like Santa Clara, said the supervisor. “In many ways, what happened here was a demonstration of what the valley could be.”
Genevieve Janssens, director of winemaking at Robert Mondavi Winery, raised a glass of Gamay Rosé to the present and former staff members before the festivities continued outside where music played and wine and food were served to the general public.
“The future of the Napa Valley is bright,” she said as people cheered.
Former employees gathered Saturday greeted one another. Many recalled Robert Mondavi as a great boss, one who would take time to thank the dishwasher at major diners, encouraged the staff to share ideas with other wineries and spur their entrepreneurial spirits, serve meals to the personnel in the vineyards to celebrate harvest and made sure they were well paid.
Employees at Robert Mondavi Winery were close, many said Saturday as they sipped ones and chatted in the Vineyard Room.
Nancy Jacobs, a former executive assistant at the winery from 1976 until 1992, when she left to work for author Danielle Steel, said the winery was the focus of employees’ lives.
“It was my social life. It was my business life,” she said. Having lost a father young and with her family still on the East Coast, Robert Mondavi was also like a parent, she added. He made sure employees were well paid.
One year, she was among 17 employees Mondavi flew to Europe to visit the wine world there. “It was an amazing experience,” she said. Going anywhere with “Mr. Mondavi” was always an experience, she added. “He had more energy than anybody.”
The 50th Anniversary Celebration tasting menu included 2014 Napa Valley Fume Blanc, 2015 Napa Valley Rose, 2013 Maestro, 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2014 Moscato D’Oro. River School World of Percussion and Ballet Folklorico el Valle were among the entertainers during the afternoon. Visitors also watched cooking demonstrations with Cindy Pawlcyn, Bob Hurley, Victor Scargle and Giovanni Guerrera.
we received the following statement this afternoon:
Media Contact: Steven Clark
June 24, 2016
As the owners of JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery, we try to instill in our local team a neighborly spirit, environmental responsibility and entrepreneurial independence, but when we learned of the terrible situation at our Sleepy Farm Road property, not to mention our poor reputation within the community, we were ashamed and are sorry. We were asleep at the wheel.
Over the last few days, we’ve been conducting an internal review of the project and learned that while genuine efforts to meet county ordinances were made, unfortunately, there were absolutely unacceptable lapses of judgment. We’ve also talked to local residents to better understand the issues and our standing within the Paso Robles community and found that our actions are an embarrassment, and for that, we take full responsibility. We are horrified by the lack of regard for both neighbor and nature that has been exhibited, especially the removal of native oak woodlands, and we hope that the community will accept our deepest and most sincere apologies and find it in their hearts to forgive us. We want to make things right, starting now.
We have already been in active and positive discussions with the San Luis Obispo County Planning and Building leaders and shared our plan to donate this 380-acre parcel of land at Sleepy Farm Road, and we’re actively exploring the best possible ways to make that happen, in addition to looking for other conservation opportunities in the greater Adelaida area. As part of this preservation, we will ensure that all necessary steps are taken to conserve this land in cooperation with county and local officials. Also included in this re-mitigation process will be the implementation of immediate sedimentation and erosion control measures; the elimination of our pond project and restoring it to its natural grade; implementing measures to permanently protect oak woodlands from being removed on at least 100 acres of our property; and planting 5,000 new oak trees across our properties.
These actions are just the beginning of our commitment to being a better, more engaged neighbor, a true steward of the land, and a local voice that lives up to the spirit of Paso Robles. We want to walk arm-in-arm with our neighbors to ensure the future of sustainable farming in the region. We know that proof of this will be in our actions, not just our words, and we look forward to working together to earn the support and trust of the Paso Robles community.
Selected Recent Sales of Grapes & Wines in Bulk for June 20, 2016 courtesy of Turrentine Brokerage:
Petite Sirah 2015 wine, California, 13,000 gallons at $7.25 per gallon
Chardonnay 2015 wine, Russian River, 1,900 gallons at $16.50 per gallon
Chardonnay 2015 wine, Monterey County, 6,500 gallons at $9.50 per gallon
Chardonnay 2015 wine, Central Coast, 15,000 gallons at $11.00 per gallon
Pinot Noir 2015 wine, California, 56,500 gallons at $7.50 per gallon
Sauvignon Blanc 2015 wine, California, 13,000 gallons at $7.00 per gallon
Chardonnay 2016 grapes, Sonoma Carneros, 20 tons at $2,000 per ton
Chardonnay 2016 grapes, Sonoma Coast, 30 tons at $2,069 per ton
Merlot 2016 grapes, Lake County, 75 tons at $1,250 per ton
Merlot 2016 grapes, Lodi, 550 tons at $450 per ton
On May 18, Trinchero Napa Valley’s new 5,000 square foot tasting room was unveiled at a sneak peek event. The tasting room will open to the public in mid June. This marks the third phase of a series of buildings that comprise the Trinchero Napa Valley Estate, which brings the entire property together. The first phase, the winery facility, was completed in 2007 and the second phase, the hospitality center, was completed in 2009. The architect for the new tasting room was BAR Architects.
Here are some photos (courtesy David Matheson) from the unveiling in late May.
Bob Torres, Principal, Vice Chairman & Director at Trinchero Family Estates
The tasting room bar
Roger and Bob, Sr. Trinchero
Wine Business Monthly's June 2016 digital edition is now available.
Inside June 2016 you will find:
2016 WBM Technology Survey Report
How Wineries Handle IT and Where They Spend Their Budget
Plus 2016 WBM Facilities Survey Report
Wineries Step Up Energy and Water Conservation
New Book Tackles Terroir, Yields, Vine Balance and Vine Stress Myths
Recent Research: Which Yeast is Dominating Your Fermentations?
Selected Recent Sales of Grapes & Wines in Bulk for May 4, 2016 courtesy of Turrentine Brokerage:
Chardonnay 2015 wine, Lodi, 6,500 gallons at $7.00 per gallon
Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 wine, California, 20,500 gallons at $7.50 per gallon
Merlot 2015 wine, Lodi, 26,300 gallons at $6.50 per gallon
Chardonnay 2015 wine, Arroyo Seco, 4,700 gallons at $12.00 per gallon
Chardonnay 2015 wine, Sonoma County, 4,300 gallons at $15.00 per gallon
Pinot Noir 2016 grapes, Sonoma Coast, 17 tons at $4,100 per ton
Grenache 2016 grapes, Paso Robles, 10 tons at $1,800 per ton
Pinot Noir 2016 grapes, Santa Maria Valley, 20 tons at $3,700 per ton
Wine Business Monthly's May 2016 digital edition is now available.
Inside May 2016 you will find:
Barrels & Oak
New Barrel Technology Uses Science to Produce More Consistent Product
Plus Industry Roundtable: Natural Winemaking
Three Advocates Discuss Reasons and Methods
What Jim Verhey Learned from 30+ Years in the Vineyard
Why Mark Greenspan Changed His Mind on Natural Plant Extractives
Mendocino Winemakers Recall Best and Worst Business Decisions
UC Davis professor David Block and Toby Halkovich of Cakebread Cellars describe the importance of a new precision-irrigation system for customized watering of each vine in a wine grape vineyard
|Gary Figgens, founder, Leonetti Cellar|
“One of the things that makes Walla Walla very special is this comradery that’s been here for 40 years and still continues to build,” Woodward Canyon founder Rick Small said.
“A lot of times -- when things get too big and there’s more stress, and more-and-more wine is being made - you see people shift away from that accessibility - that kind of friendship. I’ve not seen that happen in Walla Walla at all. If anything, it continues to build. This young generation of winemakers is incredible. I’m excited to watch their work and I’m anxious to keep staying involved.”
“It’s just been a fantastic ride,” Leonetti Cellar founder Gary Figgens said. “We couldn’t even have imagined where it’s taken this entire valley. We just had a lot of faith and confidence … This is a deluxe little town. I haven’t seen any blown-out egos. Everybody is just down-home and hard-working.”
Figgens and Small, founders of the first and second wineries in Walla Walla, respectively, made their comments during this week’s inaugural Reveal Walla Walla Valley trade auction.
They were the honorary co-chairs for the event.
“It is these two men, their wives, Nancy and Darcey, and their families who we owe so much gratitude for the start of the Walla Walla Valley wine industry that we know today,” Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance executive director Duane Wollmuth said as bidding, presided over by auctioneer Ursula Hermancinski, got underway.
Walla Walla, which now has approximately 130 wineries – depending on how one counts that - is the latest region to launch an exclusive auction for the trade, a trend that isn’t surprising given the phenomenal success of Premier Napa Valley. In Oregon, Willamette: The Pinot Noir Barrel Auction, a first of its kind trade auction, was held earlier this month. The second annual Sonoma County Barrel Auction will be held later this month.
|Rick Small, founder, Woodward Canyon|
Each wine offered at Reveal Walla Walla was a one-of-a kind bottling, with winemakers creating special blends, working with different varieties and/or collaborating with other wineries. The auction was held at Walla Walla’s new Gesa Power House Theatre, with a trade tasting at the Marcus Whitman Hotel and ancillary events at Foundry Vineyards, Dusted Valley and Dunham Cellars.
One of Walla Walla’s challenges is its location, as it is a town of approximately 30,000 people, situated a considerable distance from major cities. Reveal is seen as a vehicle for drawing members of the trade to the area while boosting recognition of the region.
The inaugural auction included 38 lots. The highest selling lot included 60 bottles of 2014 Abeja Cabernet Franc from Heather Hill Vineyard for $6,000.
Personally, my favorite lots at barrel auctions tend to involve unique collaborations.
Foundry Vineyards, Kontos Cellars and Skylight Cellars produced a 2014 “Calvalry” Cabernet Sauvingon for Reveal - an effort involving three “young guns” of Walla Walla, winemakers Justin Basel, Cameron Kontos and Greg Matiko.
Three women winemakers, Mary Derby of DaMa Wines; Amy Alvarez Wampfler of Sinclair Estate Vineyards; and Holly Turner of Three Rivers Winery; collaborated to produce a Cabernet-Merlot blended from four vineyards.
Jean-Francois Pellet and Norm McKibben of Amavi winery worked in partnership with students from Walla Walla Community College to purchase and work with fruit from the Les Collines Vineyard. The students used optical sorting, phenolic profiling and custom barrel toasting, in yet another example of how the college is working to raise the bar for quality in the industry.
|Tyler Bender and Maureen O'Callahan with College Cellars|
The comradery and spirit of cooperation that is so evident with winemakers in Walla Walla shined through during the auction and hospitality events too.
“As you can see, we’re all good friends,” Pepper Bridge and Amavi Cellars winemaker Jean-Francois Pellet said.
It's #RoséSeason (although it seems like Rosé is hot year-round these days) and Wine Business Monthly is continuing to keep an eye on this growing category. According to the latest Nielsen data, Rosé table wine above $7.99, as a category, saw a 59.7 percent increase in sales and a 51.6 percent increase in volume in the four weeks ending Feb. 27. The category holds just a 0.4 percent market share in sales and 0.2 percent market share in volume.
Here are a few other tidbits on Rosé happenings:
Enter Your Rosé in the International Rosé Wine Competition
Yesterday we got word that the Wine Country Network is asking for entries for their upcoming International Rosé Wine Competition and Festival, which is taking place in Colorado in June. The deadline for entry Entry Forms and Payments is Friday, May 20, 2016. For more information, click here.
On April 17, the WBM editorial team (managing editor Rachel Nichols and assistant editor Erin Kirschenmann) attended the Pink Party at Barndiva in Healdsburg, which featured 17 new releases of Rosé from the 2015 vintage. Wineries included: Banshee, Claypool Cellars, Copain, Front Porch Farm, Idlewild, La Pitchoune, Limerick Lane, LIOCO, Passalacqua, Petrichor, Poe, Red Car, Reeve, Rootdown, Unti, Westwood and Wind Gap.
Digital marketing agency Creative Feed just released their latest infographic, We Love Rosé, which covers all the basics from Rosé consumption, to purchasing habits and trends, popular pairings and insights from sommeliers.