The well-known Italian Mondavi family is not new to winemaking — from Cesar Mondavi to the late Robert and PeterMondavi, Tim Mondavi is another name to reckon with in the Mondavi wine empire. Born to the legendary Robert Mondavi, Tim is one out of three children from the marriage of Robert and his first wife, Majorie Ellen. His other siblings are Marcia and MichealMondavi.
Tim was born on April 11, 1951, and grew up in active service to his father, Robert Mondavi, at Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena. Tim held and managed several key positions in multiple ventures involving Robert Mondavi Winery, including Kirralaa in faraway Australia, Opus One in Napa valley, and Ornellaia and Luce Della Vite back home in Italy.
Until his resignation in 2004, Tim was a director of winemaking at Robert’s winery named Robert Mondavi Winery (RMW). His resignation came almost immediately after his brother Micheal resigned as chairman and chief executive of the board at RMW — after the family lost the company and winery to Richard Sands of Constellation Wines.
Tim Mondavi and the Continuum Estate
Following the sale of Robert Mondavi Winery, Tim partnered with his father and sister (Marcia Mondavi) to launch Continuum in 2005. This singular move kept the Mondavi dream of making world-class wine alive. His degree in viticulture and oenology from the University of California came to the fore as Continuum Estate held up to its promise and reputation of creating unique wine that will be applauded for quality, finesse, and excellence.
Continuum hinged its production on making single wine. They started with a Bordeaux blend produced with grapes from the revered To Kalon vineyard and Marjorie’s vineyard in Oakville. Almost immediately after the launch of Continuum, Tim purchased 16.6 hectares of property on Pritchard Hill that had Merlot dating back to 1990 and planted by marine biologist Leighton Taylor. Furthermore, the vineyard also housed other varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.
At the launch of the partnership, with Tim spearheading the winemaking process, Continuum unveiled a 2005 vintage — a balanced, exquisite, and unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Due to these efforts, the success of the wines put the Mondavi family wine tradition and history back into the spotlight. Consequently, it sealed the family’s shrewdness, artistic expression, and innovation in making elegant and complex wines. All thanks to Tim Mondavi at the helm of grape growing and winemaking.
Continuing the Family Legacy
Having started the Continuum estate at the age of 53, which coincidentally is the same age his father, Robert, was when he parted ways with his brother at Charles Krug to initiate his own business and winery. Another interesting highlight of Tim’s business success is that three of his children (Carissa, Dante, and Chiara) and Brian Mondavi (Marcia’s son) are also actively invested in the estate — heading top positions ranging from sales to PR and events—as such, passing the family tradition on to the 4th generation.
Chiara Mondavi, an artist cum viticultural researcher, did the honors of designing the company’s label. He involved the renowned architect Howard Backend, the brain behind Apple’s buildings, Redford’s Sundace institute, and Harlan winery, to design Continuum’s winery.
Tim Mondavi on Life Outside Wine
While discussing life outside the world of wine, Tim reminisced how he always wanted to become a marine biologist and how architecture design always appealed to him. He also mentioned how he is fascinated with nature and ocean diving, describing the view below as “filled with wonder” and “brand new” — something he felt most people took for granted. Life outside wine for Tim is partaking in functional activities that make him efficient and effective.
Tim Mondavi’s big dream is to position Continuum Estate as the best among its peers in Napa Valley and globally. He describes his vineyard as “the best he has ever worked in” and is confident it will produce the finest Napa Valley wine. Furthermore, he dreams of creating a single superior quality wine birthed by decades of experience from a single estate.
On this Day
March 1, 1825 — On this day, Charles Krug, one of Napa Valley’s winemaking pioneers and owner of the historic Charles Krug Winery, was born. He migrated to the United States in 1847 and became an American citizen in 1852. After his demise in 1892, Krug’s winery was sold to Robert Mondavi for $75,000.
October 2017— Constellation Wines paid $191 million for a 9.9% share in a company that sells medicinal Marijuana products — i.e., Canopy Growth Corporation. Barely a year after, in August 2018, the company announced its intentions to enhance its stakes by an additional $4 billion in anticipation of the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada in October of the same year. This move made constellation the first fortune 500 company and alcoholic beverages giant to have a stake in Marijuana-related business.