Vintner Robert Mondavi, May 16

Vintner Robert Mondavi, May 16 Robert Mondavi, the pioneering Napa Valley vintner whose drive and salesmanship revolutionized the way the world thought about California wine, died peacefully Friday, May 16, 2008, at his Yountville, Calif., home. He was 94. The son of an Italian-born grape wholesaler from the Central Valley, Mondavi was, at the end of his life, one of the best-known figures in American viticulture, with a name that was almost synonymous with California wine. His Cabernets and Chardonnays have been served at the White House and sold by the glass at Disney theme parks. His Cain-and-Abel exile from his family business after a fistfight with his brother was the source of legend. Mondavi put wine on the dinner tables of many Americans, said Thomas Keller, owner of Yountville's French Laundry and Per Se in New York City. "By bringing wine to the forefront, he helped establish the culinary fabric of the country and the pleasure we find sitting around the table with friends and family." Keller said. Here, Mondavi raises a toast during an interview in March 1984.
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