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‘I Never Imagined my Life Outside of the Vineyards’: 5 Questions With Carlo Mondavi

Photo by Meg Haywood-Sullivan

Imagine growing up in a family whose name is one of the most famous in the entire world. For Carlo Mondavi, grandson of Napa luminary Robert Mondavi, success is about more than what’s in the bottle.

“Both my father and grandfather had and still have an immense impact on me,” says Carlo Mondavi, grandson of Robert Mondavi, “through the lessons [they taught me] and wines they created.” 

Mondavi values his grandfather’s mentorship and the hand he had in building both the Napa Valley and one of Tuscany’s most revered Brunello estates, Tenuta Luce. He diligently studied his grandfather’s patience and care with the vines, as well as his business acumen. All those things had a profound impact on who Mondavi became as a person and, subsequently, as a winemaker and winegrower.

“My grandfather, Robert… instilled in me to respect nature, act as a steward of the land, make wines of finesse and harmony that don’t overpower. My father, Tim, on the fundamentals of how world-class winegrowing is done from both a scientific and artistic perspective. Both…were dedicated to farming at the highest level, in unison with nature. They considered themselves winegrowers, rather than winemakers.”

Mondavi is the proprietor of the Sonoma Coast’s RAEN and of Sorì della Sorba in Barolo with his wife, Giovanna Bagnasco, who also hails from a prominent Italian winemaking family. His agricultural equipment company, Monarch Tractor, aims to improve current farming methods by using electricity and zero emissions.

Like his wine, Mondavi’s goals are lofty. He considers himself both a wine professional and climate activist. And he’s only just getting started.