Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Tribute to Napa Valley's Bob

I decided to cruise around Napa Valley using my imagination.

I first read about Napa when someone gave me a copy of this book about ten years ago. It was a fascinating history of the valley and Bob Mondavi was my favorite character in the story.

Robert Mondavi died recently, and last night I opened a bottle of wine with his name on it, to offer up a toast. "Here's to you Bob - rest in peace, and thank you for all you did in Napa Valley." I purposely chose a type of wine I'd never tried before. Mondavi was a star in Napa, known by all to be a kind and generous man.

"Wine to me is passion, family and friends. It’s warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It’s culture. It’s the essence of civilization and the art of living." ~ Robert Mondavi

Robert Mondavi's autobiography is Harvests of Joy. It's on my summer reading list.

Bob Mondavi was born June 18, 1913 (Another brilliant Bob from Hibbing Minnesota.) His early childhood was spent in Hibbing, but when the family moved to California, Bob fell in love with this beautiful place. He had a great flair for business and a deep love for Napa Valley.

At the age of 53, he started Robert Mondavi Winery, the first new winery in Napa in thirty years. He traveled in Europe to learn the best way to think about, respect, and make wine. After another company took over Mondavi Vineyards a few years ago, he was asked to stay on as ambassador. Already over 90 years old, he kept very active, always working, and eventually created new vineyard with one of his sons. He was either in his vineyard, or visiting his friends, some of whom owned businesses in Napa. People were always very glad to see him. I'm certainly not the only person who posted a tribute to Robert Mondavi.