California Winemaking Legend Michael Mondavi (VIDEO)
Wine Oh TV’s 100th Episode with Michael Mondavi
Most people could interchange the name Mondavi for wine like you would Q-tips for a cotton swab or Kleenex for a tissue. When you have name like Mondavi you aren’t just a name you are a brand. With a big name comes big responsibilities and Michael Mondavi takes them but not himself very seriously. I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Michael Mondavi in October 2010 when I interviewed him at the Charles Krug Winey. Three generations of Mondavi’s were united for a high tech wine dinner and to make a one of a kind wine benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation (pictured above and below). If my memory serves me correctly the event raised over $100,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation! A testament to the power of the Mondavi name and an equal testament to the power of their wines.
Now nearly 3 years, one wedding (mine, ironically at the Charles Krug Winery), and 99 videos later I got a chance to pull up a seat and have a one on one with the M behind Michael Mondavi Family Estate. This is my 100th video produced for Wine Oh TV so by now I’m used to interviewing winemakers and they are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. With that in mind, I wasn’t too surprised by Michael Mondavi’s hospitality, warm welcome, and genuine sense that he cared about the people around him and those who worked for him. However, I was surprised that he didn’t seem rushed or rehearsed, from my vantage point it appeared as though there was nothing in the world he would rather be doing than talking to “little ol me” about his family both past and present and the future of the wine industry. He beamed when he spoke about his wife Isabel and his children Rob and Dina. When we talked about the history of the Napa Valley, I felt as if I were transported back to a different time. It’s hard to imagine that when Michael Mondavi founded the Robert Mondavi Winery with his father back in 1966, the Napa Valley was virtually nameless in the wine world – barely a mark on the map. Now they set the standard and you can give huge thanks to Michael Mondavi for that.
Michael Mondavi served as president, CEO, and Chairman of the Robert Mondavi Winery from 1994 until he left to start his own winery, the Michael Mondavi Family Estate, in 2004. Today, with son Rob Mondavi, Jr. as winemaker, Michael and his family craft a collection of world-class wines at a variety of different price points. When you watch the video, I hope I captured what I experienced in person. Michael Mondavi was funny, charming and quite sincere, especially when he spoke about his commitment to his family and his commitment making high quality wines.
Wine We Tasted
2009 M by Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon
M by Michael Mondavi is crafted from a single vineyard high atop Atlas Peak in the Napa Valley on 15 acres of rocky, volcanic soil. It is stylistically reminiscent of the legendary Mondavi cabernets that Michael made in the late 1960s and early 1970s and reflects Michael’s vision for a great wine that is complex and subtle, made to be enjoyed with a meal, revealing itself slowly over time and inviting you back for a second glass.
“I’m so grateful to the winemakers, chefs, and all of the guests who have trusted me to share their stories on Wine Oh TV. Without them and the support of my amazing husband, none of this would be possible.”
“As I look back on the past 100 episodes, I can’t believe how lucky I have been. I’ve traveled and wine-tasted my way through the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany, toured and explored the heart of Asia and Hong Kong. I have had the great honor of interviewing wine legends like Michael Mondavi, Peter Mondavi, Sr. and Gina Gallo. I even shared a bottle or two with the Godfather of Pinot Noir, Ben Papapietro, and his charming wife Yolanda. I’m filled with joy watching how far we have come and am excited to see what the next 100 episodes will bring!”
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