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Margrit Mondavi to publish ‘frank’ memoirs

Robert Mondavi's widow Margrit is writing her memoirs and her publishers promise full and frank revelations about her life with Robert Mondavi.

The book, which is being ghost-written by author Janet Fletcher and will be published in July, takes the form of a series of reminiscences and reflections about her life with Robert Mondavi, whom she married in 1980, the wine business, her personal tastes and her art.

‘She is very frank. There is material that I had never seen before – even the copy editor was surprised by what she was reading,’ Fletcher, who interviewed Mrs Mondavi over a number of months, said.

The memoirs are being published by Constellation Brands, the multinational that owns the Robert Mondavi Winery.

They remain tight-lipped about any revelations that may come out about life with one of the most formidable Napa characters of the last century.

Constellation spokeswoman Anne Baker-Siegel said however that one story, about a full-costume Roman orgy that the Mondavis held at their house in Napa, would be in the book.

‘A “Roman Orgy” was an auction item at the Napa Valley Vintners Annual Auction. The Mondavis offered to host 12 people at their house at Wappo Hill and the winning bid was US$56,000.’

The house was lit with oil lamps, there was a sign saying ‘Vomitorium’ on the bathroom, and guests were supplied with togas and laurel weaths, ‘with a purple sash for Mr Mondavi so that he looked like Caesar.’

Baker-Siegel said, ‘The party lasted until four or five in the morning with over 15 courses.’

Margrit Mondavi, vice president of cultural affairs at Robert Mondavi Winery, is a highly-respected patron of the arts in California.

In 2001 the couple gave UC Davis US$35m to support the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and the Robert & Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Last year she was named Citizen of the Year by the Napa Chamber of Commerce, in recognition her central role in the ‘cultural enrichment of the Napa Valley and greater California communities for four decades.’

Robert Mondavi died in 2008 at the age of 95.

[image: UC Davis]

Written by Adam Lechmere

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