Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Saw this testimonial to Robert Mondavi on the winedude's blog site linked off winebusiness.com. And my shout out to regional wine owners for reaction to his death brought this take by Carl Helrich of Allegro Vineyards in The Brogue, Pa.:
"Interestingly, Allegro had first-hand experience with the Mondavi Wine Machine. In the early, back when Opus One was just announcing what the name of the joint venture with Mouton-Rothschild would be named, Allegro was making a wine called "Opus 1". And neither entity had secured rights to the name in PA. Mondavi sent his lawyers to PA, and an agreement was struck. Allegro would stop using the name for a cash settlement. Additionally, there was a gentleman's agreement that Mondavi come to a press conference and taste Allegro's wines and say that they were good. The hope was that the guy who put CA on the map could do the same for PA. Mondavi never showed.
"Secondly, one of Mondavi's great business innovations was to make wineries a tourist destination by offering winery tours. This was a great business model for most wineries. Unfortunately, I curse his name every time I get a phone call from someone wanting a tour, knowing full well that they don't want to buy any wine.
"He was a great business man. Good wines, great marketer. Helped our industry more than any one individual. I just wish he had been less capitalistic and more wholistic.