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Robert Mondavi , one of the well know wine producer of California established his winery - The Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville, California. This winery produces some of the finest wines including the Cabernet Sauvignon and is also well known for its Sauvignon Blanc grapes from which Robert Mondavi crafted his signature wine - The Fume Blanc. Robert Mondavi believed that the wine that he would produce would reflect its origins, the soil, climate and the environment in which the grapes are nurtured and grown as well as the technology of wine making without losing sight of the age old traditions that are soaked in to make a high quality wines. Thus the Robert Mondavi Winery combines technology with tradition such as using French oak ageing casks and stainless steel fermentation tanks to make some of the finest wines in the world. Under his leadership the wine business grew to about USD.500 million plus per year business and set the trend for the other wineries that were to come up in California.

We reached the Robert Mondavi Winery one fine morning under a bright Californian sun blazing down on us accompanied by a gentle cool breeze which was a perfect combination for a great outdoor activity. Our tour guide Dave was a storehouse of knowledge in the science and the art of wine making, the intricate processes involved right from the growing of the grapes, the soil characteristics, climatic parameters such as wind, moisture and other atmospheric factors and the technology of wine making per se. He was in some other profession for many decades and upon retirement decided to pursue a course in wine making. Upon successful completion of the course was inducted into Robert Mondavi Winery as one of the tour officials to show the visitors around the winery. Under his tour we had a fascinating - about 90 minutes tour of the vineyards, the wine making process as well as the nuances of tasting a variety of wines (a very fascinating aspect) such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Red Blends, Merlot and Dessert wines.

Wine making is a complex process of crushing, filtration and aging the filtrate in the wine casks of the appropriate wood quality made to exacting standards to impart the desired flavour under controlled temperature and humidity conditions. The Mondavi family considered that:

Great grapes, Great wine making, Long-term vision and Art are the essential four pillars to make a high quality wine.

To quote Robert Mondavi: Making good wine is a skill, making fine wine is an art”

The visit was a wonderful and heady experience with a rapid walk thru the various requirements and departments of wine making and parameters such as:

Quality of grapes,

Terroir which is a combination of - Climate, Soil and Flora,

Climatic conditions such as Macroclimate, Mesoclimate and Microclimate,

Soil types such as Sand, Loam Clay and Silt,

Flora comprising of living trees, plants, bush, flowers, grass, yeast and bacteria in the region and as Carlo Mondavi said : You can find 50,000 yeast particles on a single wine grape,

Viticulture and harvest,

Wine making process and technology,

Filtration and

Bottling.

The tour ended on a high note of tasting some of their finest wines with a short introduction on the fine art of "pouring" "swirling" and sniffing" before the actual consumption.

Robert Mondavi is no more. He passed away on May 16, 2008 at the age of 94. The winery was acquired by the Constellation Group in 2004.

It was a fantastic aromatic experience!

Enjoy the pictures.


Shankar Adisesh
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Categories & Keywords
Category:Travel and Places
Subcategory:North America
Subcategory Detail:United States of America
Keywords:Californianwines, NAPAvalley, Robertmondavi., Wineriesofusa, Wineriwsofcalifornia