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Mondavi finally steps down

Robert Mondavi - the 'father of Californian wine' - has stepped down from the board of his family business.

Mondavi, who retains the honorary title of Chairman Emeritus, has seen his Napa Valley-based company expand to develop wine on four continents and market in over 80 countries. As a champion of terroir and American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), he has always been at the forefront of developments, and he has tirelessly campaigned for labels to declare the healthy aspects of drinking wine over bureacratic warnings on alcohol abuse.

His eldest son Michael, 60, chairman of Robert Mondavi Winery, said his father’s ‘energy, enthusiasm and vision will continue to inspire’.

Mondavi (pictured) stamped his powerful personality indelibly on the wine world. Respected as much in Europe as America, he is credited with single-handedly bringing Californian wine to the world’s attention. He has long been unofficially known as the father of Napa.

‘His passion for quality and innovation is a permanent part of the company’s culture and key to its future success,’ he said.

With the retirement of the company’s inspirational – but often autocratic and despotic – 90-year-old head, there will be some changes to the board, not least in the appointment of Ted Hall, a graduate of the world-renowned McKinsey management consultancy.

Hall, currently president of Long Meadow Ranch Winery, replaces Bartlett Rhoades, who is retiring after 14 years.

‘Our company and shareholders will benefit greatly from Hall’s extensive experience as a business leader and entrepreneur,’ Michael Mondavi said.

Hall worked for over 25 years in the public and private sectors before assuming world-wide responsibility for McKinsey’s intellectual property division. He is also Chairman of Tambourine, a speciality music production and distribution company.

Robert Mondavi Winery produces Opus One in conjunction with Baroness Philippine de Rothschild of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, Luce Danzante and Tenuta dell’Ornellaia in partnership with Marchesi de Frescobaldi of Tuscany, Kirralaa in Australia with Southcorp, and Rosemount’s Oatley family, and Arboleda and Caliterra with Vina Errazuriz in Chile.

Written by Conal Gregory

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