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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mondavi Winery at 50

On July 16, 1966 Robert Mondavi scooped up a ceremonial shovelful of dirt at the site that would become the first new premium winery in Napa in the 20th century. He was crazy to attempt this.

Mondavi had recently lost his job at the family winery up the road after squabbling with his brother over the business. His dream was to make wine to compete with the best of France. This was the part that seemed crazy.

He was spending a lot of money not knowing if the goal was achievable or if there was even a market for high-end California wine. Crazy.

A few months later while construction was going on all around they crushed their first grapes and made about 1,000 cases of wine. The rest, as they say, is history -- for Mondavi, for Napa Valley, and for the California wine industry.