The House of Mondavi book review

The House of Mondavi: the Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty, Julia Flynn Siler. Gotham Books 2007.
mondavi-book-cover.jpgHaving finished reading the unauthorized Gallo and now the Mondavi family biographies, and having earlier read the Napa book by Conaway, I pronounce myself a novice historian on the Valley and the California wine industry. I am glad I read the about the Gallos before the Mondavis. Both families were instrumental in creating the modern California wine industry. The Gallos turned jug wines into oceans of cash and the Mondavis turned Napa into a first world, first class island of luxury where you lived the highest of high living. Where the Galllo brothers made money for themselves and would have happily excluded everyone else – including their youngest brother – the Mondavis spread the green far and wide…until they fell of the cliffs of extravagance and hubris.
This book is really about Napa’s and America’s greatest wine ambassador and tireless marketing genius (click for classic Mondavi wine commercial) Robert Mondavi robertmondavi.jpg and how he single-handedly lifted the Napa Valley and Napa wines from a curious American region to an international destination every bit the equal of the greatest regions in France, Italy and the world. His brother Peter (and Peter’s family), with whom he battled and inflicted great financial pain as a result of Robert’s departure from the CK Mondavi company and estate, gets about 20% of the attention. (more…)