Mondavi, whose parents purchased the winery from Charles Krug in 1943, took over as president and CEO of the business when his mother died in 1976. He became widely known for his many contributions to California’s wine industry, including research on the effects of cold fermentation on white and rosé wines, which helped winemakers produce better quality white wines.
The winery was also the first in Napa Valley to import French oak barrels for aging, a method which has since become standard practice. Because of his investment in major plots of Napa Valley land, Mondavi also established the legacy for Charles Krug estate wines. By 2010, Mondavi had invested 22 million to replace 400 acres of vineyards with Bordeaux varietals, implementing sustainable farming methods made possible with state-of-the-art winemaking equipment. Founded by Krug in 1861, the property is Napa’s oldest operating winery.
In 1986, Mondavi was named a “living legend” by the Napa Valley Vintners Association and in 2011, California governor Jerry Brown honored Mondavi for his significant contributions to the wine industry. In 2012, Mondavi was inducted into the Culinary Institute of America Vintners Hall of Fame. “I share this award with my parents,” Mondavi said at the time.
Mondavi is survived by three children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. His sons, Marc and Peter Jr., oversee the family winery. Mondavi’s older brother was Robert Mondavi, the late vineyard operator who helped bring global renown to Napa Valley wines and opened the Robert Mondavi Winery.
A feud between the two brothers during the 1990s led to a rift that established competing wineries in Napa. In 2005, three years before Robert’s death, the brothers and their children united to make wine together for the first time in 40 years, using a 50-50 split of grapes between both vineyards. The resulting single barrel, which then sold at auction for $401,000, was called “Ancora Una Volta,” or “Once Again.”