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Robert Mondavi, founder of the American fine wine industry, dies at 94 5/29/2008

Robert Mondavi of Napa Valley, the founder of the modern US fine wine industry and a global symbol of American wine and food, died on May 16th 2008. He was 94. The Mondavi family stated that the legendary vintner died peacefully at his home in Napa Valley.

Robert Mondavi changed the landscape of the US wine industry when he founded his eponymous winery in 1966, inspired by his belief that he could produce world-class wines in Napa Valley. Since that time, the Robert Mondavi Winery has become known as one of the world's leading innovators, producers and marketers of fine wine, firmly establishing America’s rightful place on the world wine stage.

In a reflection of his buoyant and exuberant personality, Robert’s wish was that, following his death, a celebration be held in his honour. As representatives in Malta of Mondavi wines, Wands Ltd will be respecting this wish by offering anyone unfamiliar with Robert’s wines the opportunity to taste some of the extensive range and buy the wines at a special discounted price.

Robert Mondavi was born in Virginia, Minnesota, to parents who emigrated from Sassoferrato in the Marche region of Italy and was greatly influenced by Old World traditions of the pleasures of wine and food. The family moved to Lodi, California, during Prohibition and he attended public schools there.

At age 53, he established the Robert Mondavi Winery, the first major winery built in Napa Valley following the 1933 Repeal of Prohibition. Robert’s goal was to combine European craft and tradition with the latest in American technology and use educational efforts to sell his wines.

At his fledgling winery – which he intended as an enduring landmark to California history, reflecting this in its iconic, mission-style architecture - Robert pioneered many fine winemaking techniques in California, including cold fermentation, stainless steel tanks and the use of French oak barrels. As a marketing leader, he initiated blind tastings of Napa Valley wines with other world-class wines, allowing consumers and the trade to evaluate wine quality and value. By the 1970s, Robert Mondavi wines were recognized for their quality internationally, and Robert pioneered the export of fine California wines.

Never one to rest on his laurels, in 1979, Robert joined forces with Baron Philippe de Rothschild, creating the Opus One Winery in Oakville. Robert also expanded his horizons through international partnerships with the Frescobaldi family in Italy and Eduardo Chadwick of Viña Errazuríz in Chile.

In March 2007, the Culinary Institute of America honored Robert Mondavi as the first ‘Pioneer’ inductee in the founding year of their Vintners Hall of Fame. In August 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Robert Mondavi’s induction into the California Hall of Fame at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts.

Wands Ltd will be offering a ‘try and buy’ opportunity on a selection of Mondavi wines at the Wands Cash & Carry at Marsa for two weeks from Monday 2 June. Doors are open from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday and from 9am to 1pm on Saturday. For further information call the Wands Cash & Carry on 2123 2125.