June 28, 2019
June 30, 2019
July 22, 2019
C. Mondavi & Family is a St. Helena based wine company founded in 1943 by Cesare and Rosa Mondavi. Today the company is led by third-generation Brand Ambassadors Marc Mondavi and Peter Mondavi, Jr. C. Mondavi & Family produces wines under the following labels: Charles Krug, CK Mondavi, The Divining Rod and Purple Heart Wines. The company remains family owned and operated and is proud to be welcoming members of the fourth generation to the business.CK Mondavi wines are 4th generation of the Mondavi family so they have great heritage and experience.
The young Mondavi couple settle in Minnesota, finding camaraderie among a community of Italian ex-pats. Cesare returns to the iron mines, while Rosa turns their home into a boarding house for other immigrant miners. When the time comes to start a family, Cesare decides to leave the dangerous mines. Partnering with another Italian immigrant, he opens a small grocery store. Within a number of years, he and Rosa have four children. The grocery store does well, and Cesare sells his share of the business to buy a saloon.
Even under Prohibition, families are permitted to make wine for their own use, a common practice in the Old Country. Wine grapes are scarce in the Midwest, so Cesare travels to California’s Central Valley to buy grapes and ship them back to Minnesota. Arriving in Lodi, he is reminded of home; the climate is so similar to that of Italy’s grape-growing regions. What’s more, the town is ideally located for purchasing and shipping grapes and other fruit. So in 1923, Cesare moves his family to Lodi and the C. Mondavi & Sons wholesale fruit business is born.
Prohibition is repealed, so Cesare buys a small winery in Napa Valley. Under Cesare and his sons, Robert and Peter, the little winery flourishes. In 1943 Cesare takes a leap of faith, and purchases the Valley’s oldest winery, Charles Krug, founded in 1861. At first, the Mondavis make and market wines under the Charles Krug label. Then, in 1946, CK Mondavi, a new line of affordable, everyday wines is released, the first wines to have the Mondavi name on the label.
In 1959, Cesare passes away, leaving the winery to Robert and Peter. When Robert decides to strike out on his own, Peter takes over and continues to oversee day-to-day operations. Under Peter’s stewardship, the winery sets milestones for innovations – including cold fermentation for white wines, and sterile filtration techniques – that produce crisper, livelier wines. In light of his many contributions, Peter is named a “Living Legend” by the Napa Valley Vintners Association in 1995. Remarkably, Peter continues to be the heart and soul of the winery, coming into the office daily, right up until six months before his death at age 101 in 2016.
The winery is now in the capable hands of Peter’s sons, Marc and Peter Jr. Some of their children have already come on board — the 4thth generation of Mondavis to join the family business; together with winemaker Charlie Gilmore, the family continues to raise the bar for everyday wines. And so, in 2017, in a nod to their remarkable forbearers and to pave the way for future generations, they’ve added the words “and family” to the CK Mondavi label.
The Marc and Janice Mondavi family are the core family behind the CK Mondavi and Family brand. Marc, born and bred in Napa Valley, has been in the wine industry all of this life. Janice grew up on a farm near Sacramento, growing fruit trees. After college, she moved to St. Helena to get back to her agricultural roots, met Marc, and within two years, they fell in love and got married. Marc smiles, “And the rest, as they say, is history.”
Proud of both the kids and of their involvement in the family business, Marc says, “It’s not very often you’ll see that high a percentage of the siblings back in the family business. Angelina is a winemaker. Alycia manages and markets other high-end boutique brands. Riana oversees on-premise national accounts for CK Mondavi: hotels and restaurants. And though she’s not yet in the wine industry, Giovanna (nicknamed Gigi) lives in Boston and works in finance. “You need it all.” Janice adds, “And they all love what they’re doing. They’ve found their niche.”