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Robert Mondavi

Robert Mondavi is legendary in the development of the California wine industry. In 1966, he established the Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley with the goal of producing wines that would rival the finest European wines. It was the first major winery built in Napa Valley following the repeal of the Prohibition Act in 1933.

In the late 1960s, Mr. Mondavi pioneered many fine winemaking techniques, including cold fermentation, stainless steel tanks, and the use of French oak barrels. He also initiated blind tastings in the Napa Valley, allowing consumers and the trade to evaluate wine quality.

Mr. Mondavi has long believed that great wines should be recognized internationally. In the 1970s, the Robert Mondavi Winery was among the first to export premium California wine. This international outlook also led to partnerships with prominent wine families of the world, embracing the belief that great wines result from the quality of the soil, climate, and the people who create them.

“The idea was to take our different cultures and traditions, along with the best materials and know-how from Bordeaux and California, to create a wine with its own style, character, and breeding,” said Mondavi. Opus One was the result of this partnership with Baron Philippe de Rothschild.

An uncompromising perfectionist, Mr. Mondavi has been guided by the belief that, “If you wish to succeed, you must listen to yourself, to your own heart, and have the courage to go your own way.”

In 2001, Mr. Mondavi made a $25 million gift to UC Davis for the establishment of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

“UC Davis has been a true partner in building the international reputation of the California wine industry,” Mondavi said. “California wines are equal to the world’s best in quality, diversity, and excitement. We are now leading the way with UC Davis graduates at the helm of many of our finest wineries, Robert Mondavi Winery included. We are greatly honored to support UC Davis with new facilities that ensure its position as the world’s leading educational center for viticulture, enology, and food science.”

Robert's wife, Margrit Biever Mondavi, who joined the winery in 1967, was vice president of cultural affairs and shared her husband's passion for uniting wine with fine art, music, and culinary artistry.

Honorary Board

The Robert Mondavi Institute Honorary Board is composed of a distinguished group of thought-leaders whose expertise and industry leadership will represent, inspire, and honor the institute's vision — "Enhancing our quality of life through wine and food sciences" — for future generations.

  • August A. Busch III
  • Francis Ford Coppola
  • Darrell Corti
  • Ann and Gordon Getty
  • Agustin Huneeus
  • Fritz Maytag
  • Margrit Mondavi
  • Michael Mondavi
  • Tim Mondavi
  • Paul Montrone
  • Wolfgang Puck
  • Martin Yan

Director

Andrew Waterhouse is an internationally recognized wine chemist whose research focuses on phenolic compounds, in particular their effects on wine qualities and on the health of wine consumers.  His current interests also include the effect of oxidation on wine chemistry and how this oxidation affects important quality parameters of wine, such as taste and color. Waterhouse is participating in the development of general analytical methodology of interest in wine analysis and has a variety of methods published in this area. He and his colleagues are currently applying a number of different methods to look at new grape and wine treatments being offered by various companies.

Dr. Waterhouse received his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He did postdoctoral studies at UC Berkeley, investigating natural pesticides. His first academic appointment was in the Chemistry Department at Tulane University, where his research program focused on structure-activity relationships of carbohydrates.

Dr. Waterhouse teaches UC Davis’ popular Introduction to Winemaking course, as well as more specialized courses for enologists, including a graduate-level course, Natural Products of Wine. He has received awards for wine research and has organized several symposia on the subjects of wine chemistry and wine and health.

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Enhancing the quality of live through wine, brewing and food science


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