Viticulture briefs

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Margrit Mondavi honored by state Legislature

Margrit Biever Mondavi was honored last week at the state Capitol for her contributions to Napa Valley and the state of California.

Assemblyman Bill Dodd, D-Napa, and state Senator Lois Wolk, D-Davis, presented Mondavi, 90, with a resolution on the floor of the state Assembly for her philanthropic work.

“I’d like to thank Assemblymember Dodd for this great honor. While I’m a Swiss immigrant, I’m a Californian by choice, and the well-being of my state is always very close to me.” Mondavi said in a statement.

She was the second wife of the late Robert Mondavi, a pioneer vintner of Napa Valley wines who helped brought worldwide acclaim to North Coast wines. In 1969, Margrit Mondavi founded the Summer Music Festival at the Robert Mondavi Winery, which has become a major benefit concert for the Napa Valley Symphony. She was also instrumental in the creation of the Robert & Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis.


Napa’s Far Niente introduces new sister winery

The partners of Napa Valley’s Far Niente winery have introduced a new sister winery, Bella Union, which will specialize in cabernet sauvignon blends.

Bella Union is housed on a 25-acre cabernet vineyard along the Bella Oaks Lane in Rutherford. Its inaugural 2012 vintage pairs the Rutherford grape with traditional Bordeaux varietals from various vineyards throughout the Napa Valley. It will be priced at $85 and released in September.

The partners have other wineries beyond its flagship Far Niente label, such as Dolce and Nickel & Nickel in the Napa Valley and EnRoute in the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County.

Megan Melief is the winemaker at Bella Union. She was previously assistant winemaker at Nickel & Nickel.

The name for the winery pays a nod to the history of Bella Oaks Lane, which was known as the Bella Union Roadway in the 1880s.


Sonoma State welcomes new wine business professors

Sonoma State University has kicked off its new academic year with new faculty that will be teaching wine business courses in its School of Business and Economics.

Damien Wilson has joined the school as a full-time faculty member and serves as the Hamel Family Chair of Wine Business. An Australian native, Wilson is former director of wine business programs at Burgundy School of Business in Dijon, France. He holds four degrees in wine business, including a Ph.D. from the University of South Australia.

Wilson is charge of launching new wine business education programs, establishing global partnerships with universities and wine businesses, and leading research and collaboration with industry in the school’s Wine Business Institute. He will also be teaching the undergraduate wine marketing course this fall.

Tiffanie De Liberty will be an adjunct faculty, teaching a master’s of business administration course of wine legal and regulatory issues. De Liberty is an attorney and former legal counsel for Jackson Family Wines.


Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to

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