The Robert Mondavi Winery is often viewed as one of the catalysts that launched the Napa Valley into the the modern age, with it visionary founder not only playing a major role in establishing Napa as a world-class wine region. Often referred to as 'Mondavi U', it also served to educate and launch the careers of countless winemakers who got their start there. Founded in 1966 by New World wine ambassador Robert Mondavi, the Mondavi Winery has set the standard for production and marketing strategy in Napa Valley. There may have been no bigger superstar in New World wine culture than the late Robert Mondavi, who, among other accomplishments, brought worldwide recognition to the wines of Napa Valley, established the American Institute for Wine and Food, and launched the Napa Valley Wine Auction.
Born to Italian parents in Virginia, Minnesota, Mondavi founded his iconic eponymous winery in Oakville, California in 1966. Many of his production techniques and marketing strategies are now standard for New World wines. A cornerstone of the winery's success has been the famous and ever fertile To-Kalon Vineyard. These 550 acres of bale clay loam, alluvial soil on the edge of the Mayacamas Mountains are planted mostly to Cabernet Sauvignon, with some Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petite Verdot, Syrah, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.
To-Kalon vineyard in Napa Valley to produce its acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and Oakhill District Cabernet Sauvignons. A hint of morning fog combined with full day sun and excellent drainage are the environmental conditions which produce Robert Mondavi's consistently outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and Oakville District Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines are complex and layered, a firm tannic backbone supporting rich notes of cassis, wild berries, licorice and spice. 60 year old Sauvignon Blanc vines produce the I Block Fumè Blanc, an offspring of the first Fumè Blanc created by Mondavi in 1966. Mondavi also broke new ground with a partnership with te rothschild family to found Opus One, a collaboration that married the best traditions of Bordeaux with Napa's new world sunny climate, a melding of cultures that while successful was not without is rough patches. As great as the Mondavi legacy was, it is not without its ups and downs. When they winery levered its reputation and moved into less expensive wine categories with their Woodbridge and Coastal lines, the high-end image of the winery was diminished. The winery was sold to Constellation Brands in 2004, withn efforts focused since then to re-establish the winery especially in their top-end Oakville and Tokalon Reserve wines.
Genevieve Janssens is current Director of Winemaking at Robert Mondavi Winery. A native of France, Janssens studied under legendary enologists Jean Ribereau, Pascal Ribereau-Gayon and Emile Peynaud at the University of Bordeaux. In 1978 she came to Robert Mondavi Winery as a lab enologist. In '89 she became Director of Production at Opus One winery, a joint venture between Robert Mondavi and the Baron Philippe de Rothschild, and in 1997 returned to the Robert Mondavi Winery as Director of Winemaking. Following the sale of the winery to Constellation Brands in 2004, the winemaking team continues to focus on 'District' and 'Reserve' wines, while also producing limited quantities of vineyard-designated bottlings.