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Visionary Winemaker Robert Mondavi to Speak at Symposium

U.Va.’S Mcintire School Of Commerce Cultivates Innovation, Explores Creativity And Success In The Wine Industry

April 4, 2002-- Robert Mondavi, father of the American wine industry, will be the keynote speaker at a symposium on the business of wine sponsored by the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce April 26, in U.Va.’s Old Cabell Hall Auditorium, beginning at 1:15 p.m. The afternoon symposium, including Mondavi’s talk, "How the Good Life Became a Great Business: Perspectives on Creativity, Innovation, Corporate Success, and Life," is free and open to the public.

Other wine industry experts scheduled to speak are Michael Etzell, co-owner of the popular Oregon winery, Beaux Freres; John Gay, president and chief executive officer of Southcorp Wines, The Americas, which distributes the Australian wines made by Lindemans, Rosemount Estate and Penfolds in North and South America; and Paul Lukacs, wine columnist and author of "American Vintage: The Rise of American Wine."

Patricia Kluge, president and chief executive officer of Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard, and Vic Motto, a Napa Valley-based wine-industry consultant, also will participate.

The program, "Creativity and Innovation in Mature Industries," is the third annual spring symposium sponsored by McIntire’s Center for Growth Enterprises. The symposium, which focuses on the wine business as an example of a mature industry, is co-sponsored by the Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard and Host Marriott Inc.

Speakers will explore the many challenges facing the American wine industry — including a highly competitive marketplace, asset-intensive and technologically demanding processes, regulatory barriers to efficient distribution, and cultural hindrances to market growth — and offer examples of success. Speakers also will discuss the growth of the Virginia wine industry in the past two decades.

Mondavi was born to parents who immigrated to the United States from Italy. He earned degrees in economics and business from Stanford University and went to work for two California wineries, Sunnyhill Winery and Charles Krug, where he sought ways to improve product quality.

In 1966, at 53, Mondavi built the first major winery in Napa Valley since the 1933 repeal of Prohibition. At Robert Mondavi Winery, he married Old World traditions with modern American technology, becoming the first California winemaker to use cold fermentation, stainless steel tanks and French oak barrels. A successful marketer, he sold dry-fermented oak-aged Sauvignon Blanc as "Fume Blanc," a move credited with popularizing this grape variety in America. He also was the first in Napa Valley to use blind tastings to enable buyers to evaluate wine quality.

Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginia, was passionate about wines, enjoying them during his stay in Paris as American minister to France (1784-89). On his return to the United States, Jefferson tried for years to grow grapes at Monticello. Unfortunately, viticultural success eluded Jefferson, but Mondavi, now in his late 80s, more than any other person in the United States, made Jefferson’s vision a success.

Contact: Charlotte Crystal, (434) 924-6858

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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