Highlighting Over 70 Years of a Life in Wine

Highlighting Over 70 Years of a Life in Wine

In February, legendary wine Peter Mondavi, Sr. (brother of Robert, the other legendary Mondavi) passed away at the incredible age of 101 years old. In honor of his life and influence on the wine industry, we’re honored to reprint our exclusive interview with Peter in 2014, on the eve of his 100th birthday.

Peter’s life history is inextricably linked to the rise of the Napa Valley as one of the world’s premier wine regions. Peter’s parents, Cesare and Rosa Mondavi, purchased Charles Krug Winery in 1943. Starting in the 1940’s, Cesare and Rosa’s sons, Peter and the late Robert Mondavi (of Robert Mondavi Winery acclaim), joined their parents in the family business. 

Peter’s personal work helped pioneer new technologies in winemaking in the Napa Valley, and Peter himself developed cutting-edge cold fermentation techniques (critical to making modern white wines taste fresh) at the University of California at Berkeley in the late 1940s.

The net effect of Peter Mondavi, Sr.’s life in wine was nothing short of helping to spur the growth and success of the entire American wine industry. Read on to hear from Peter Mondavi, Sr. on what a joy a life of wine has been.

The Daily Sip (TDS): How is the Napa Valley different now than when you arrived?

Peter Mondavi, Sr. (PM): There’s been a tremendous increase in boutique wineries, and the culinary scene is unbelievable.

TDS: What wine of yours are you personally most proud of and why?

PM: In the early years, I was most proud of our Vintage Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. Those wines are still demonstrating how Napa Valley cabernets can age gracefully. Today, there are so many more of our wines to be proud of.

TDS: What is the single biggest joy of a life in wine?

PM: Having researched cold fermentation and to have been among the first to introduce French oak barrels to the Napa Valley. The wine business was and still is my greatest desire.

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