UC Davis Today: Honoring the legacy of Robert Mondavi

  • An older Robert Mondavi stands in the foreground with his winery in the background

    California’s wine industry owes its success in large part to Robert Mondavi, shown in a vineyard at the Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley.

  • A young Robert Mondavi stands in a 1930s football uniform with a football

    In his younger days, Robert played football.

  • A young Robert Mondavi in cap and gown with his father and mother on either side of him

    Robert and his parents, Cesare and Rosa Mondavi, on graduation day at Stanford University in 1936.

  • Robert Mondavi runs with the Olympic torch

    At the age of 83, in Napa, Robert participates in the official torch relay for the 1996 Olympic Games (in Atlanta).

  • Robert Mondavi and Julia Child talking, heads together, at a dinner table

    Robert chats with celebrity chef and cookbook author Julia Child, who helped him and his wife, Margrit, launch COPIA in Napa in 2001.

  • At a dining table, people raise their glasses in a toast

    Robert and Margrit share a toast with Joe Wender, a vintner at Colgin Cellars, during a board members’ dinner meeting at COPIA.

  • An elderly Robert Mondavi holds a giant corkscrew surrounded by people

    In June 2005, he wields a giant corkscrew at the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

Honoring the legacy of Robert Mondavi

At Robert Mondavi, we view wine as an integral part of our culture, heritage and the gracious way of life. We believe wine is the temperate, civilized, sacred, romantic mealtime beverage. Wine has been praised for centuries by statesmen, philosophers, poets and scholars. Wine has been with us since civilization began and will be with us indefinitely. Now it is up to us to educate ourselves about what wine really is.”

So said Robert Mondavi, iconic winemaker and UC Davis benefactor. You can find this quote in a collection of his papers donated to UC Davis in 2011, and now ready for researchers at Special Collections in Shields Library.

A new library exhibition, Robert G. Mondavi: Celebrating the Good Life, outside the Special Collections room, celebrates the unveiling of the papers. Library archivists have preserved and cataloged the papers, which include extensive correspondence — some in Mondavi’s own handwriting — to and from winemakers, family members, employees of the Robert Mondavi Winery and contacts worldwide. The collection also includes photographs, biographical material, his speeches and travel files, and information on COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts. The Robert G. Mondavi Papers website, including images of some of the documents.

The collection's debut and the exhibition’s opening coincide with the 100th anniversary of Mondavi’s birth. He was born June 18, 1913, in Virginia, Minn., and died May 16, 2008, at age 94, at his home in Napa County.

“Robert Mondavi’s life and legacy has made such a tremendous difference at UC Davis,” Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said. “We are pleased to present this collection to the public in honor of his 100th birthday, and to share the collection with scholars from around the world so that they might have greater insight into Mr. Mondavi’s work and life as a winemaker, business leader and philanthropist.”

The exhibit, which will be open until December, is free and open to the public during library hours.

On the home page: California’s wine industry owes its success in large part to Robert Mondavi, pictured here in a vineyard at the Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley. (AvisMandel Pictures) All photos in the above slideshow, except for this photo, are courtesy of the University Library's Department of Special Collections.

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