There’s no icon like Robert Mondavi
by Alan Goldfarb
Reader Comments... [22]

M Perrone
I agree wholeheartedly with your comments as someone who once worked for the Robert Mondavi company, and I too, was taken by this man's singular vision, a voice for California wine heard above all others. “Great men die twice”, Valery says, “once as men and once as great”. Let us celebrate the passion and enduring legacy that will always be Robert Mondavi.

Morris Zwick, President
Terrapin Station Winery, Maryland
Robert Mondavi is an icon that will be sorely missed. And I am not sure he IS directly replaceable as the world has changed substantially since he opened his winery. We can all be thankful for his contribution to wine history and try to follow his leadership example!

Rob Mondavi, president winemaking,
Folio Fine Wine Partner's, Napa, CA

Thank you for such warming words. Your thoughts were very well put and I do agree there will never be another man like Bob. He is still with us yet limited as you described. We celebrate the life he has had much as you have with your words here today.


~ Rob Mondavi

Jo Diaz, Publicist
Diaz Communications, Windsor, CA

You're so right. I was fortunate to have spent five months at Robert Mondavi Winery. I was a wine educator, on my way to a full-time employee PR position elsewhere, before going solo. Those five months have been the most profound and powerful for me in my process. I thank RM for all that he did, clearing a path for us all. Having been with RMW, it gave me credentials that no other wine company - at that time - could have possibly given me. It added such respect and credibility from others to my resume. I'm forever indebted to Mr. Mondavi. He may not even know who I am - because we were 900 employees at the time - but I surely know who he is... An eternal wine icon!

Andrew Glazier, owner
Nice Story. He is a heck of a guy. Many famous people in the valley worked at his place in the past. I thought Mike Grgich should be mentioned as he took old world tradition and married it to the use of technology to improve American wines. He worked for Robert Mondavi also.

Edward F. Zeigler, Principal/Owner
The Zeigler Company, Humboldt, KS
Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hi Alan,

Just now I finished reading your article about Robert Mondavi and I couldn't agree more with your thoughts concerning Mr. Mondavi. Many of us have been inspired by his persistence to do whatever you do, do it well, and always strive for perfection! I am 73 years old and I know (from experience) that to do so, many times, causes one to receive the wrath of many instead of praise and it takes “an exceptional individual” to stand strong alone and never give up the dream!

One thing that I wish you had included in your article was a contact address where we could let Mr. Mondavi know just how much we “wine drinker and entrepreneurs of the world” appreciate him and his efforts; and, where we could wish him well, a safe journey and much success in his next endeavor. I definitely think that in this time in his life he would appreciate hearing from us!


Ed Zeigler

Michael Weis
Alan, thanks for the great tribute to Mr. Mondavi. I had the privilege, as have many folks in the California wine business, to be associated with the Mondavi family over the years. Mr. Mondavi is truly the “godfather” of the California wine industry. His message was always loud and clear and never wavered - California can make wines to compete with the best in the world. Thanks to him and his vision we are, in fact, competing with the best in the world.

Erica Valentine, Estate Director
Icon Estates, Napa Valley, CA

What a great tribute that's even better by the fact that Robert Mondavi is still around and able to hear this praise. His leadership has been the architect of wine's place today in the entire world.

As a native Napan who has been fortunate to have a career in the wine industry, Robert has always been one of the most important role models for me.

Robert's clear and brilliant focus on the loftiest of goals, his consistent and insistent messages throughout his entire life taught me the most important aspects of brand building. He is father to thousands of careers like mine and I will forever be grateful.

Thanks for the opportunity to express this.

David Gaier, Editor, Metuchen, NJ
Robert Mondavi, along with Jack and Jamie Davies, were true pioneers and have been an inspiration to me in not just pursuing a wine career, but in pursuing excellence in everything. God bless Bob Mondavi and his brother Peter, too, for the gifts their families have given to American winegrowing and winemaking.

Cheers, Bob and Margrit!!

Tony Lombardi
J Vineyards & Winery, Healdsburg, CA

Well done. What a nice tribute to "the Grandfather of California Wine". Thanks for keeping him on the front pages!


Alan Goldfarb, Senior Editor
Appellation America, Napa, CA
Thank you all for your responses, and for recognizing the importance of Robert Mondavi to American wine and culture. He is truly the only person who transcends wine in the U.S.

To send your words to him, try e-mailing to the Robert Mondavi Winery directly. I'm sure he'll get them.

Eric Awes, Wine Steward
QFC Stores, Gig Harbor, WA
I would agree 100% with Alan Goldfarb as to what Robert Mondavi has done to create the presence of wine in today’s society. As a person with thirty five years experience in the wine industry (retail-wholesale-supplier) I have watched the Robert Mondavi Winery grow personally to where it is today.

Bernard Portet
Clos Du Val Winery, Napa, CA

Leadership is what has created Napa Valley and made California what it is now. With all due respect, California was an unknown wine entity in the world in 1968, when I first came to discover California from France. But thanks to the leadership, and most of all, thanks to the spirit of cooperation and communication that Bob and several others showed, that sense of the Power of One, very special to me born in Old Europe, Napa Valley has risen to mean quality wines in the world. Congratulations to all involved and Thanks, Robert! for the leadership.

I did learn enormously from all of you!

~ Bernard Portet

Diane Denham, President
Grail Wine Selections, Napa, CA
Dear Mr. Goldfarb,

Thank you for your article about Mr. Mondavi. He is inspiration for me every single day as I struggle to make a success of a company I started (like he did) after the age of 50! Bob is famous for the quote "do what you love and you will never work a day in your life." Well, that isn't exactly true as anyone who has followed their passion into self-employment will tell you. But I know what he's a labor of love and a harvest of joy. Here's to the man who inspired so many of us! Cheers!

Philip Goodband MW, Consultant Master of Wine, Dorking, UK & Stockton, CA
As a former Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine I had the considerable pleasure of working with Bob, who was an early and enthusiastic supporter of the Institute. He was and is an inspiration to us all in so many ways but particularly in his search for excellence. His focus and nurture of all that wine can bring to our lives is needed now more than ever.

Gary Kozel
Kenwood, CA
When I was working at the Robert Mondavi Winery in 1990 running the Reserve Tasting Area (RTA) on Sundays, it was like being in the Camelot of the wine industry, and I was, and am, so damn proud and pleased to have been a small part of it. Even though I had a wonderful full-time position at a Fortune 500 company during the week, it was the experience of coming to the Mondavi’s on Sundays that I truly looked forward to and enjoyed. On the Saturday before Easter each year, I remember how he and Margrit would invite the whole hospitality staff up to his home for a champagne brunch around his indoor pool and then take us all on a quick tour. Such warmth and graciousness were part of the Mondavi way, and sadly we shall not see their like again.

Mia Malm, Director of Public Relations
Robert Mondavi Winery, Oakville, CA

Your article beautifully outlines the life-changing power of Robert Mondavi's enthusiasm and vision. Regarding a way to let Mr. Mondavi know he is appreciated -- in fact we are working right now on a web-based birthday card in celebration of his upcoming 95th where well-wishers will be able to post their greetings. We'll let you know as soon as it launches! In the meanwhile, if anyone wishes to send him a note, email it to me at
and I will make sure it gets to Wappo Hill.

Michael A Venezia, Corporate Director of Education
United Distributors Inc., Atlanta, GA

As a Robert Mondavi distributor and a student of wine I had the honor to be in Bob's company on several occasions. He is truly the "Godfather of American Wine" and deserves a special place in the pantheon of important American cultural ambassadors. For the love of wine!

~ Michael.

Ricardo Santos
Mendoza, Argentina

I agree with your message regarding Robert Mondavi's influence in
America and the world, but I question a search for another Mondavi to
carry his torch. What he did was to get the American people to accept
wine, to try wine, and finally to have made wine part of his life.

Josh Jensen, owner
Calera Wine Co., Hollister, CA
Alan, great article! Bravo! Every one of us in the wine biz owes an enormous debt of gratitude and a fervent thank-you to Robert. He led the way. He had the passion and the vision and the drive to push us all forward.

Cheers, Josh

Ken Payton, Santa Cruz, CA
May 16, 2008

I'll be toasting the gentleman tonight.

Andrew Glazier, Owner
Back Roads Wine,
May 16, 2008

Rest in peace, sir. You made Napa great, you made California greater and you gave America respect and taught a whole generation of winemakers to believe the dream that we deserve respect and could produce world-class wines. You are a hero. We salute you.