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Robert Mondavi

Robert Mondavi is legendary in the development of the California wine industry. In 1966, he established the Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley with the goal of producing wines that would rival the finest European wines. It was the first major winery built in Napa Valley following the repeal of the Prohibition Act in 1933.

In the late 1960s, Mr. Mondavi pioneered many fine winemaking techniques, including cold fermentation, stainless steel tanks, and the use of French oak barrels. He also initiated blind tastings in the Napa Valley, allowing consumers and the trade to evaluate wine quality.

Mr. Mondavi has long believed that great wines should be recognized internationally. In the 1970s, the Robert Mondavi Winery was among the first to export premium California wine. This international outlook also led to partnerships with prominent wine families of the world, embracing the belief that great wines result from the quality of the soil, climate, and the people who create them.

“The idea was to take our different cultures and traditions, along with the best materials and know-how from Bordeaux and California, to create a wine with its own style, character, and breeding,” said Mondavi. Opus One was the result of this partnership with Baron Philippe de Rothschild.

An uncompromising perfectionist, Mr. Mondavi has been guided by the belief that, “If you wish to succeed, you must listen to yourself, to your own heart, and have the courage to go your own way.”

In 2001, Mr. Mondavi made a $25 million gift to UC Davis for the establishment of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

“UC Davis has been a true partner in building the international reputation of the California wine industry,” Mondavi said. “California wines are equal to the world’s best in quality, diversity, and excitement. We are now leading the way with UC Davis graduates at the helm of many of our finest wineries, Robert Mondavi Winery included. We are greatly honored to support UC Davis with new facilities that ensure its position as the world’s leading educational center for viticulture, enology, and food science.”

Robert's wife, Margrit Biever Mondavi, who joined the winery in 1967, was vice president of cultural affairs and shared her husband's passion for uniting wine with fine art, music, and culinary artistry.

Honorary Board

The Robert Mondavi Institute Honorary Board is composed of a distinguished group of thought-leaders whose expertise and industry leadership will represent, inspire, and honor the institute's vision — "Enhancing our quality of life through wine and food sciences" — for future generations.

  • August A. Busch III
  • Francis Ford Coppola
  • Darrell Corti
  • Ann and Gordon Getty
  • Agustin Huneeus
  • Fritz Maytag
  • Margrit Mondavi
  • Michael Mondavi
  • Tim Mondavi
  • Paul Montrone
  • Wolfgang Puck
  • Martin Yan

Board of Executives

The Board of Executives of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science provides strategic advice and leadership from diverse perspectives in the wine, brewing and food industries and help build support for the Institute and its programs.

  • Robert Boynton
  • Paul Coletta
  • Darrell Corti
  • Jeremy Benson
  • Al Giuliani (Chair)
  • Clay Gregory
  • Jane Killebrew
  • Margaret Lawson
  • Harold McGee
  • Doug and Juli Muhleman (Doug, Vice Chair)
  • Glenn Nedwin
  • Barb Stuckey
  • Rob Twyman
  • Jean-Michel Valette
  • Glenn Workman

Executive Director

Clare Hasler-Lewis has been the founding executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at the University of California, Davis, since 2004. Dr. Hasler-Lewis is an internationally recognized authority on functional foods. From 1992-2000, she served as the founding director of the Functional Foods for Health Program at the University of Illinois. Dr. Hasler-Lewis trained as a post-doctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. She holds a dual Ph.D. in environmental toxicology and human nutrition from Michigan State University and an M.S. in nutrition science from The Pennsylvania State University. She also earned an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Hasler has published more than 60 research and position papers, invited reviews, book chapters and bulletins and has given hundreds of lectures on diet and health in more than 20 countries.  From 2005-2015, she served on the Board of Directors of Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) where she also established and chaired the Food Safety, Technology and Sustainability Committee. In 2011, Dr. Hasler-Lewis was honored with the President’s Award from CAST (The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology). In 2016, she was appointed to the Board of Directors of California CareForce, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to providing free health, dental,  and vision services to residents all over California.

Executive Committee


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Enhancing the quality of live through wine, brewing and food science

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