Robert Mondavi, founder of the winery named after himself, has died at the age of 94. The Mondavi family stated that the legendary vintner died peacefully at his home in Napa Valley, California.
Mondavi founded his winery in 1966 after a feud with his brother forced him to leave the Charles Krug Winery, which his family owned. He changed the landscape of the US wine industry, inspired by his belief that he could produce world-class wines in Napa Valley. Since that time, the Robert Mondavi Winery has become known as one of the world's leading innovators, producers and marketers of fine wine, firmly establishing America's place on the world wine stage.
In 1976 Mondavi handed control of the winery over to his son, Tim, but he still remained involved in the running of the business. He served as chairman emeritus of The Robert Mondavi Corporation after it was acquired by Constellation Brands in December 2004. Following the sale, Mondavi travelled the world as an ambassador for wine.
Richard Sands, chairman of Constellation Brands, paid tribute to Robert Mondavi's contributions. "Robert Mondavi was unique in a very special way," he said. "He had a vision about the potential for developing great California wines. Robert was a pioneer who acted on his vision and was both passionate and relentless in his pursuit of ever-better wines, especially from the Napa Valley.
"He was an inspiration and he will be greatly missed. Robert's passing leaves a void in the world of wine which can never be filled."