The Robert Mondavi Winery is the best known winery in California, and with good reason. The late Robert Mondavi, who died in 2008, was Napa Valley’s most passionate ambassador and the maker of some of the valley’s very best wines. His Italian immigrant parents moved from Minnesota to Napa Valley to grow fruit, and by the 1960s they owned and operated the Charles Krug Winery. But after a feud with his brother and mother in 1966, when Robert was already in his 50s, Robert left the Krug winery and struck out on his own. He was determined to make fine wines – not the jug wines California was mostly known for at the time – and by the 1970s his Cabernet Sauvignons were impressing connoisseurs in the U.S. and Europe. Today the winery is no longer owned by the Mondavi family, though its wines continue to win high praise. Robert Mondavi Winery owns 1,540 acres in Napa Valley and its premiere wines are Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Napa Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon To Kalon Reserve.
Napa Valley AVA is the most famous winemaking region in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. With nearly 43,000 acres of vineyards and more than 300 wineries, it is the heart of fine wine production in the United States. Winemaking started in Napa in 1838 when George C. Yount planted grapes and began producing wine commercially. Other winemaking pioneers followed in the late 19th century, including the founders of Charles Krug, Schramsberg, Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyards. An infestation of phylloxera, an insect that attacks vine roots, and the onset of Prohibition nearly wiped out the nascent Napa wine industry in the early 20th century. But by the late 1950s and early 1960s Robert Mondavi and other visionaries were producing quality wines easily distinguishable from the mass-produced jug wines made in California’s Central Valley. Napa Valley’s AVA was established in 1983, and today there are 16 sub-appellations within the Napa Valley AVA. Many grapes grow well in Napa’s Mediterranean climate, but the region is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay is also very successfully cultivated, and about 30% of the AVA’s acreage is planted to white grapes, with the majority of those grapes being Chardonnay,