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Mondavi brothers unite

Robert Mondavi, 92, and his brother Peter, 90, have surprised wine lovers by announcing their first collaboration in 40 years.

After four decades of a family feud which split one of America’s pioneering wine families and led to the creation of two Napa dynasties, the two veterans and their sons are to jointly produce a barrel of wine and bottle the resulting 60 magnums for sale at next summer’s Napa Valley Auction.

The joint project, which comes shortly after the sale of Robert Mondavi Corporation late last year to Constellation Brands, is a symbolic gesture, representing a public end to the much-publicised estrangement that has divided the two families for nearly half a century.

According to Peter Mondavi Jr, who will be making the wine with his cousin Tim Mondavi, former winemaker and board member at Robert Mondavi Winery, the rift between his father and uncle had closed over the years.

The venture between the two families is meant to show family solidarity after his uncle Robert Mondavi’s reversal of fortune. When asked if there would be future collaborations, he said, ‘We’re taking it one step at a time’ adding, ‘Stay tuned.’

The feud began when the two brothers disagreed over the running of the Charles Krug winery, bought by their father in 1943. In 1965, after a fist fight that he describes in his autobiography, Robert left Krug to found the Robert Mondavi Winery in 1966, which he built to a multinational, quoted company, along with sons Michael and Tim.

While Robert continues as Chairman Emeritus after the sale to Constellation, both sons have cut ties with the company.

Peter Mondavi and his sons Peter and Marc have built Charles Krug into a company with over 350ha of vineyards, making it one of the largest landowners in Napa. Entirely family owned, Krug just completed a US$20m renovation.

Written by Kerin O’Keefe

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