Tim Mondavi 64 MINUTES

A new podcast series from Doug Shafer about the people behind the food and wine you love.

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Doug Shafer with Tim Mondavi for The Taste wine podcast

Tim Mondavi spent more than 30 years working with his father at Robert Mondavi Winery until the family lost control of winery. Undaunted he started over with a new winery aptly named Continuum. Today Tim and his family are celebrating 100 years in the wine industry and he is more passionate than ever about producing world-class wine. Enjoy!

For more visit: ContinuumEstate.com


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FULL TRANSCRIPT

 

Doug:
Hey, welcome back everybody, Doug Shafer with another podcast episode of The Taste, today we've got a guy in here, who's a pretty good friend, but we've really never spent a lot of time together, so I've been looking forward to this because it's, we're way overdue, we, we've got Tim Mondavi here, Tim welcome.

Tim:
Thank you very much Doug, I'm delighted to be here.

Doug:
It's good to have you.

Tim:
I spent time with your dad, and doing a lot of things, and look forward to spending more time with you.

Doug:
Well, I think you and I have a lot in common ...

Tim:
Yep.

Doug:
... but I, I got to tell you about, I got to tell you one story about one, the best, truly the best summer job I ever had. I was a tour guide at Robert Mondavi Winery, this was the summer of '79, I was between Davis and going down to teach school in Tucson for a couple of years, so I got this job as a tour guide. Let me tell you, '79, I think I'm making $15 an hour, I'm doing three tours a day, tour lasts about an hour, you got an eight-hour shift, in between tours, we're in the back room there, the original vineyard room, eating cheese from Oakville grocery, drinking b- beautiful wines, 'cause there was always some VIP there, and there was reserve Pinots, and reserve cabs, and I'm 23, I'm meeting girls, we got the Mondavi ...

Tim:
(laughs).

Doug:
... summer concerts going on, it was the best summer job of my life.

Tim:
And you probably saw a few comparison wines that weren't so bad as well.

Doug:
There w-

Tim:
Dad would always want to compare with the best of the world, and-

Doug:
That's true, that's true.

Tim:
... he always would.

Doug:
Your dad's, yeah, he, he would do that.

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
And, I remember seeing you running around the cellar, I'd be, I'd be, you know, guiding the tour through the cellar, you know, and there would be Tim over there, and your dad, it was a lot of fun.

Tim:
And always in the tasting area, there are lots of, lots of tastings, lots of wines, and had a, it was a, really it was an incredible time back in the earlier days of Robert Mondavi.

Doug:
Yeah, it was neat, beautiful wines. So that was '79, but hey let's, let's start from the beginning, do you, do you mind going back?

Tim:
No.

Doug:
Grand, grand, grandparents, grandparents, the whole deal?

Tim:
I'd, I'd be delighted to go back. Absolutely.

Doug:
So let's hear some Mondavi history.

Tim:
Well, in the beginning, yes, so there was ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... it was Rosa and Cesare, at a, yes it was like Adam and Eve ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... but actually my grandparents immigrated from Italy in 1906, but my grandfather got us into the wine business 100 years ago this year, 1919.

Doug:
Really?

Tim:
With the onset ofPprohibition, you know, the prohibitioners couldn't go against the church, right?

Doug:
Right, right.

Tim:
There were, well the church ladies that were against their men, overindulging spirits, but they couldn't go against the church that needed wine for their sacraments ...

Doug:
There you go.

Tim:
... and so there was the exception of sacramental wine was allowed, all the medical friends of wine, the doctors said, you know, in moderation wine is healthy and good for you ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and so, okay, well that's another exception, you could have wine prescribed to you by your doctor, and then, thirdly-

Doug:
(laughs) I'd do probably that.

Tim:
... by extension, each head of household was allowed four, to make four barrels worth of wine, and so that-

Doug:
That's, that's, so that's four ton, that's, that's 80 cases of wine?

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
Roughly.

Tim:
Yeah, roughly.

Doug:
That'll last.

Tim:
Well, yeah in, but if you think about it, 80 cases of wine, you know, if you have friends over, you share a bottle of wine each night-

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
... you know, it goes pretty quickly.

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
But anyway, that's how my grandfather got into the grape shipping business for home winemaking, starting in 1919 ...

Doug:
And was he, was he here in California, or was he back at-

Tim:
Oh absolutely.

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
Well, he emigrated from Italy in 1906 as I mentioned ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
He followed his brother Giovanni into the iron ore mines of Minnesota ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... and when Giovanni met with a fatal accident in the mine, my grandfather very wisely went up above ground, had a boarding house, and a grocery store, and, he had his ear to the ground, he was a translator for the community, and was secretary of the Italian club, they had their ear to the ground because again they were in Minnesota ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... Senator Volstead the, from the Volstead Act-

Doug:
The Volstead Act.

Tim:
... was from Minnesota, they knew what was going on, they knew the exceptions, and they asked my grandfather Cesare to come to California, they gave him their cold hard cash, sent him to California, and he said, "You know, this isn't so bad." So he began discovering the length and breadth of California starting in 1919, including Napa Valley, and so, yeah, it's a big, it's a big year for us, 1919, 2019.

Doug:
That's, that's great. So, they sent a, they bankrolled his trip to move to California to ship grapes back to them.

Tim:
Well, yeah. He, he came out on a couple scouting trips ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... and then moved his family to Lodi in 1922 ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... and from there he had access throughout the entire state, the length and breadth of California, and got to know all the regions, and upon repeal, I guess all the bankers that had foreclosed on the wineries -

Doug:
Right, right.

Tim:
... during prohibition saw this young enterprising fellow who had developed a link to the marketplace for grapes, and they approached him and said, "Cesare, Cesare ... "

Doug:
Cesare.

Tim:
" ... do you think you can do that with wine?" And he said, "Yes, I think I can do that." And so, he became the president of the Acampo Wine Company over in the Lodi area ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... and they had three wineries that they worked with, one in, in Modesto, one in Lodi, and one in Napa Valley, called Sunny St. Helena Winery.

Doug:
Sunny St, but, okay this is wild, you know, your grandfather, your father, you, you know, there's a definite genetic link going on here, but anyway, but-

Tim:
And then it goes on to the next generation too, the fourth generation.

Doug:
That too, we gotta talk about those guys. But he, how old is he probably at this point?

Tim:
So he was 23.

Doug:
So this was like 1933.

Tim:
Well, he was 23 when he immigrated to America ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... now that was 1906, and so you add up the years, and there he was … 13, twenty f- yeah, 30, he would have been 36.

Doug:
Wow!

Tim:
36.

Doug:
Three wineries and one in St. Helena called Sunny St. Helena Winery ...

Tim:
Right.

Doug:
... which the- those of you who don't know, is now Merryvale ...

Tim:
Exactly.

Doug:
Okay, so he's got, so and, so was he, was he still living in Lodi or he, where did he-

Tim:
He was.

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
He was living in Lodi, he moved his family out to Lodi in 1922, and my father was born, all of my father and his siblings were born in Minnesota ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... but then they all came out, you know, what I make up, and I'm not exactly sure of all of this.

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
We've tried to find the research for all of this, but, was that these bankers approached my grandfather in 1933, there were three wineries, he was the president of the Acampo Wine Company ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... and so he had a number of years of experience throughout the state of California, and upon my father's graduation from college in 1936, he said, my father was thinking about business, he was thinking about law, he, but ...

Doug:
'Cause he was, it was Stanford, it, right? Yeah.

Tim:
He went to Stanford.

Doug:
Right, I remember that.

Tim:
Yeah, exactly ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... and nailing boxes, they made money to go to Stanford, and -

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... nailing boxes for shipping grapes.

Doug:
Shipping grapes.

Tim:
So, there are stories about that, but ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... at any rate, this all carried on, and, yeah my grandfather had this understanding of what California was like, and you'll have to recall another, another interesting fact, if you go back and do California wine history 101 ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... I think it was 1782, is when the first grapes and wine were harvested in Southern California's Mission San Juan Capistrano ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... Spanish missionaries, but it was the German immigrants that put wine on the map for Napa Valley. They had won awards for fabulous quality in Paris, and London, and Brussels against wines of throughout the world, and so Napa Valley wines were represented ...

Doug:
Interesting.

Tim:
... strongly ...

Doug:
Interesting.

Tim:
... and that recognition, that quality, led to there being 121 wineries here in Napa Valley ...

Doug:
In the, just -

Tim:
... by 1919 ...

Doug:
That's right, I remember that.

Tim:
... and 18,000 acres of vines, and then Prohibition wiped all that out. The German immigrants made great wine, because they brought a culture of wine growing with them ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... they, wine growing, and winemaking, and so that led to great wines, and fame, and all the wineries followed, but they planted, how did the Germans plant those vines? Probably in hillside, it was select, no it wasn't hillside select that that came later ...

Doug:
(laughs)

Tim:
... but ...

Doug:
What if ...

Tim:
... no, but it was the hillsides that they planted, and the valley floor, but with Prohibition, the economic reality ... Second World War, the depression ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... all of that, everybody was in a mess throughout the world, and so all of the, high cost, low yield sites were abandoned ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... so Napa Valley lost half of its production, the hillsides as well as other areas.

Doug:
I didn't know they planted in the hillsides back, back then.

Tim:
Well, look at Schramsberg.

Doug:
Good point.

Tim:
Yeah, look at where Beringer is, look at there where they did plant the hillsides, they did plant the valley floor, but the only thing that got through that economic disaster of depression and Prohibition were the higher yielding areas, and there's a reason your dad chose to go to the hills. He knew what the German immigrants knew. He knew the story of the great wines of the world that seek a higher level of stress in the vines ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... just the right amount.

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
So the Hillside Select ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... is something that seems to resonate here at Shafer.

Doug:
Well, it does here at Shafer, but there are some of great sites on the hills, and on the flat lands here-

Tim:
Yes, that's true.

Doug:
... as we all know.

Tim:
Absolutely.

Doug:
But you're very kind, thank you.

Tim:
Yeah. Well I, I do think that there are, at To Kalon there's a great, yeah, my family owned ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... l- well, 530 acres of To Kalon for a very long time, I took care of it as the wine grower for my family for-

Doug:
Wow!

Tim:
... 30 years ... but that all went up in smoke at the end of 2004.

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
So your dad's, so he gets out of Stanford, so he, this is Robert, your father, and he comes up and works with your grandfather, is that, or how was?

Tim:
Yes, yes, and well, my grandfather continued to live in Lodi ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... continued to ship grapes for, up until his death in '59 ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... but my grandfather knew the areas of the valley, the interesting thing too is that in 1933, 80% of the wines of California had gone to fortified wine, America wanted that which it could not have during Prohibition, and so they wanted hooch -

Doug:
They wanted hooch, so it's, so it wasn't table wine, it was fortified wine?

Tim:
... port, port, sherry ...

Doug:
Brandy.

Tim:
... you know, muscatel, angelica ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... these fortified wines, and so the epicenter, the economic epicenter of wine was at Central Valley, 80% of the wines of California at that time, in 1933, were fortified wines, so it was ...

Doug:
Wow!

Tim:
... it was a visionary moment for my grandfather then to go against that and move, and say, "Bobby, go to Napa Valley," because Napa Valley was not a very good place for fortified wine ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... the yields, its, the soils are restricted, the temperatures are cool, the tonnage is low.

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
So, during Prohibition it is interesting to note that California planted more grapes during Prohibition, however Napa Valley lost half of its production, because again it was not productive enough.

Doug:
Got it.

Tim:
So, but-

Doug:
So it was all Central Valley where they got big yields, and they shipped it all back-

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
... east for homemade wine, and selling the wine.

Tim:
But my grandfather was all about wine for the table, and great red wine, and Napa Valley stood out to him as being-

Doug:
Wow!

Tim:
... a great place for that.

Doug:
So he was the one. So he sent your dad, Robert?

Tim:
Yes. My grandfather Cesare was the visionary, and my father just got on board, and took us to the stars.

Doug:
Got it, and so he, so your dad shows up at Sunny St. Helena ...

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
... as he runs out, and then-

Tim:
1936.

Doug:
... that was, that was the first winery he was working at ...

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
... and then ...

Tim:
And because of the family being able to develop this connection to, again-

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... to the marketplace, and being, you know, just being honored there, it coincided in 1943 with, Mr. Moffitt from San Francisco, who owned Charles Krug at the time ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... wanted to get out of the wine-

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... business, and was looking for a family that would carry it on, and so Paul Alexander, the fellow from the Bank of America in St. Helena approached my father with the notion, and my father of course raced ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... into saying, "Wow! What a great opportunity this is."

Doug:
I can see that picture.

Tim:
Oh boy, yeah, and he went home to Lodi, to, in a very eager way ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and discussed the idea over dinner with my grandfather who was a little bit different from my father ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... he was very conservative, very quiet, not, didn't say much, but my grandfather, and my father was very dynamic, and he was like his, his mother, but my father was talking a mile a minute over dinner, and then ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... about the great opportunity this would provide ...

Doug:
Right, right.

Tim:
... and then my grandfather just kind of gets up, and says, "Good night." And goes upstairs to bed. So my father says, "Mom, we got to do something about this, this is a great opportunity."

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
And she says, "Don't worry, I'll take care of it."

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
She goes up to bed, and then the following morning Cesare comes down the stairs, and says, "When do we go to St. Helena?"

Doug:
Wow!

Tim:
(laughs) So ...

Doug:
Good ol moms.

Tim:
Oh yeah.

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
They are persuasive ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and, anyway, so.

Doug:
That's a great story.

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
So, so they purchased Charles Krug, which most of everyone knows is north of St Helena, fantastic, fantastic property.

Tim:
It is the oldest winery operating today in the valley.

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
1861 is when it was founded.

Doug:
Okay, and, so, so now we got, now we get to you, so Robert's running Krug with the family, and the whole thing ...

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
... you come along, you've got a couple siblings, Michael and Marcia ...

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
... you're the third younger, you're the, you're the-

Tim:
Last.

Doug:
... baby ...

Tim:
Yes, that's right.

Doug:
... and, we, where were you, so when you were born, were you guys living at Krug?

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
Oh yeah.

Doug:
Grew up at Charles Krug, how fun?

Tim:
Charles Krug was my playground, you know, went out in the vineyards with Pietro Valardinelli, who was, we all called him Uncle Pete ...

Doug:
Uh-huh (affirmative).

Tim:
... and ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... my grandmother would occasionally, or often, prepare these fabulous meals for us, and, my mom and my dad would always invite people to the valley, and, you know, Napa Valley was not then what it is thought of as now ...

Doug:
Agreed.

Tim:
... an example of that is when I would learn to ski, and I would go up to Heavenly Valley ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... you'd be on a chairlift with somebody from the Bay Area you never met and say, "Hi, great day, where are you from?"

Doug:
"Where are you from? Where are you from" Yeah, right.

Tim:
You'd say Napa Valley, and they'd say, "Hmm, where, where's, oh that, that's right, isn't, isn't that where the insane asylum is?"

Doug:
That's right. That's what it was known for.

Tim:
And, I tell you, "Oh yeah, that's, yeah that's right-"

Doug:
The sanitarium.

Tim:
" ... Napa State Hospital, would be there."

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
And, or the other ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... thing that people recognized was the veteran's home ...

Doug:
That's in Yountville.

Tim:
... and but nobody thought about wine, I mean it had been illegal ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... not long before and it was certainly looked down upon, so nobody thought much of it, and Napa Valley wines, California wines were, you know, third-rate compared to French, or Italian, or German ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... but my father had this, he knew that we had the soil, and the climate, and the capabilities to do great things. So, things evolved from that.

Doug:
Right, so you were growing up in St. Helena ...

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
... playing at Charles Krug, there's probably 15 or 20 wineries in the valley, but ...

Tim:
20.

Doug:
... yeah.

Tim:
Robert Mondavi Winery in 1966 was the 21st winery.

Doug:
The 21st, and, but so high school, was that St Helena ...

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
... or Napa, or?

Tim:
No, no, no, well actually I grew up in St. Helena, but then went away to high school ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... my father always wanted the best ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and so, we all went away to, my brother, sister and I went away to high school, and, anyway, but still-

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
... this is, this is, has always been home.

Doug:
But, boy, growing up, so, you know, because that's the early '60s in Napa Valley, which is, must have been g- gosh, you know, there's no wineries, well I'm even, we moved out in '73, I think there were 30 wineries when we got out here, and, no fancy hotels, no restaurants ...

Tim:
No restaurants.

Doug:
... and it was, it was rural, yeah.

Tim:
All the best food was in, in the homes ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and, because of the Martinis, and the Mondavis, and a few other Italian people that were in the valley, the Italian community was strong, and the meals in the homes were fabulous, but there were no-

Doug:
Hmm.

Tim:
... restaurants. Really no restaurants to speak of, so, and it's, it's come a long way since that time.

Doug:
So you're growing up, there's, I'm assuming there's w- there's always wine on the table ...

Tim:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Doug:
... and, was it always California wine, or, I'm guessing, knowing your dad, he's drinking wines from all over the world.

Tim:
Well, yes it was wine from all over the world ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and there were people from all over the world, particularly the United States, that would come through the home, and, you know, I grew up, my bedroom was 50 yards from the crusher at Charles Krug ... and so people would look for, come to the house and want to use the bathroom, and, you know, and ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... you know, it was, it was early days in the industry.

Doug:
Real quickly, your mom Marg- Margret, yeah?

Tim:
Yes, that's right.

Doug:
So where did she and your dad meet?

Tim:
Well, they both grew up in Lodi, my mother was-

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... born in Lodi, and my father moved to Lodi when he was 13 years old with his family ...

Doug:
Okay, yeah.

Tim:
... and so they grew up there together, my father was, a couple years older, and, yeah.

Doug:
And so '66, that's when your dad breaks out, and founds Robert Mondavi Winery, the 21st winery in Napa.

Tim:
Well, he was broken out, I should say ...

Doug:
Well ...

Tim:
... because, yeah in '65, you know, you have to remember, some good friends that were in the valley, their parents would always say, "Well, wine, that's how you go out of business."

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
You don't go into the wine business, that's a little bit bizarre. So there were ... very difficult times, economically, and so lots of challenges, and so my father always being the optimist, would always push, and push, and push, and while my grandfather was alive, my grandfather knew what was going on, but he died in '59, and so-

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... six years later, things were a little bit too tight, and my father was booted out of Krug ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and so he began, he wanted to provide an opportunity for the family, and so-

Doug:
Great.

Tim:
... he began Robert Mondavi, the 21st winery in Napa Valley, after working with his family for 30 years ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... he was 53 years old, and, most people were considering retiring, but he said, "No, this is ... " So, so your, your father ...

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
... how old was your father when he began at Shafer?

Doug:
I did the math, I was, I was doing some research on you yesterday, when dad, so he moved to South when he was 48, his first vintage was '78, the '78 vintage, and he was 53 years old.

Tim:
Oh yeah (laughs). A lot of, a lot of years.

Doug:
And if I'm not mistaken, Continuum, you're, you're baby ...

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
... you're, you were a baby, you were a new project, you were 53 when you started.

Tim:
Yes, that's right.

Doug:
There you go.

Tim:
Yes, after working with my family for 30 years too, so yeah, there were a lot of Continuum's in (laughs) our ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... in our history.

Doug:
No, and listen, what happened, so you were, I think I di- again, I did the math, you were, when he, in '66 when he started, you were 15 ...

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
... were you, what was that like for you, is it just kind of crazy, or, you know, dad's just doing his thing, and off he goes, and?

Tim:
No, it was very difficult times ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and as I had mentioned, my grandfather died not long before, and there were-

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... always economic challenges ...

Doug:
Got it.

Tim:
... the wine business was how you go out of business, and so lots of challenges, yet I never feared for things economically, but there was a lot of tension within the family, and it manifest itself in many different ways, but, still my grandmother was a fabulous lady ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and, I have nothing but great affection and regard for her, and my grandfather, but at any rate, they were very difficult times. My father began Robert Mondavi with, or, all of his assets were tied up at Charles Krug, he had no financial capability other than the, the goodwill of friends, and partners, he had two partners when, in founding Robert Mondavi Winery, Fred Holmes who ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... dealt with real estate in the area, and owned, the land that is now Auberge du Soleil, and Round Hill Winery down there-

Doug:
I remember that, right.

Tim:
... and Ivan Shoch who was the grape grower for-

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... Inglenook and Beaulieu, and, prior to Andy Beckstoffer ... so they were the two partners, and they sold out after two years, and, yeah, I worked there every summer, since it began.

Doug:
So, was just kind of curious, because I was gonna ask you, it's like, hey you're growing up and, you know, son of Robert Mondavi, famous, famous, famous, and I was listening to you right now, I realize when you were a teenager, and he's just getting going, okay yeah, it's Robert Mondavi's Winery, but it, it, it, I'm assuming, correct me if I'm wrong, there was no instant fame, he wasn't-

Tim:
Oh no.

Doug:
... you know, it was like, I, 'cause you, we have a parallel there too, 'cause I was gonna say, what was it like being 15, 16, 17 in Robert Mondavi Winery, and all that fame, it's like that-

Tim:
No.

Doug:
... probably wasn't happening.

Tim:
No.

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
It was Robert who, you know?

Doug:
Robert who?

Tim:
And, you know, nobody knew that they, Charles Krug was known ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... but we C. Mondavi and Sons were the owner, and my father had made-

Doug:
That's right.

Tim:
... quite a name for himself within the industry, but again, Napa Valley wines, California wines were not regarded highly, they-

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... were illegal, they had been made illegal during prohibition ... concurrent with that was all kinds of problems that took place in the wines, you have concrete fermenters, and ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... redwood fermenters, and not a lot of knowledge, and no money to spend money on, and so there were some challenges, and so, but throughout the wine world, there was off cooperage, and-

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... so my father was the first to build Robert Mondavi Winery using new techniques.

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
Louis Martini Winery was the first to be built after Prohibition, but it was built using old technology, and Louis Martini Sr. used the then current ...

Doug:
Current.

Tim:
... technology, but then 33 years later technology had evolved, and, so stainless steel tanks were-

Doug:
I think your dad was, wasn't he one of the first to go stainless steel?

Tim:
He was the first.

Doug:
He was the first, yeah.

Tim:
Yeah, and then I know that, what was his name? From, Haut Brion, Jan Del Moss ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... said he followed Dad using stainless steel ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... over there at ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... Haut Brion, and then, you know, I, I can go on a litany of all the ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... different cooperage that various people have, but, yeah he did a lot of interesting things, Mike Grgich who well ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... I'll be seeing Warren Winiarski later this afternoon ...

Doug:
Oh great.

Tim:
... but, Warren was the first fellow who worked with us at Robert Mondavi, and I worked with him in the summers as a kid ...

Doug:
Really?

Tim:
... and, and-

Doug:
What did ...

Tim:
... then Mike Grgich followed him, and I worked with Mike, and they both went on to be in the Judgment of Paris ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... and each recognized our wines were not in that tasting, because we were too well-known, Joanne Dupuis, Joanne Dupuis was the the lady that-

Doug:
I remember Joanne.

Tim:
... collected the wines for Steven Spurrier ... and she had her own clients, she had a tour company, and she had taken Steven Spurrier around, and, so she wanted to present the wines that the unknown wine race ...

Doug:
Oh.

Tim:
... of Napa Valley, so-

Doug:
That's kind of frustrating.

Tim:
... and so Robert Mondavi was too well known, so at any rate, but both Mike and Warren went on to be recognized in that Judgment of Paris tasting.

Doug:
But they started at Mondavi.

Tim:
Well they, they, they-

Doug:
They started with your dad.

Tim:
... each had, well Warren worked at Souverain prior ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... he was a professor of philosophy at University of Chicago I believe ... but then he worked with Lee Stewart at Souverain, and then he worked with us, and Mike Grgich had been at Beaulieu under Andre Tchelistcheff ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... for many years, and then worked with us for a year, for a few years, then went on to Montelena, and then went on to found Grgich Hills, but, yeah.

Doug:
It's in- it's incestuous business, isn't it?

Tim:
Well, it was small.

Doug:
It was small.

Tim:
It was very small, and everybody helped everybody, and so that was part of the, genesis of why Napa Valley is known as well as it is-

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... because we collaborate ...

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
... we're friendly, and help each other, because if your wines are looked upon well from Napa Valley, then mine will probably be as well. So, it was a good thing.

Doug:
I'm gonna circle back to that one, but before I do, so high school then, so you go to, you go to Davis?

Tim:
I did.

Doug:
And goes to, and to viticulture/enology, the whole, was that the, the plan, that was what you were gonna do, or did you have anything, like do anything else?

Tim:
Well, no, I was ...

Doug:
Just curious.

Tim:
... there were challenges within the family ... within my, father and my uncle at the time, and, , and then I th- my brother being eight years older than me, I thought that he and my father had figured everything out, and so I was thinking about doing other things ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... until I went to Europe in 1970 ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... and saw that family's actually can work together in peace and harmony and delight, and it wasn't such a bad thing, and ...

Doug:
That's a nice, that's a great experience.

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
And, the Demptos family took me in ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... and we spent a lot of time in Bordeaux, and they, and the Saunders, Louis Demptos's wife was a Saunders, they had OBE ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and had the best meals there with three generations of the Demptos Saunders family, and ...

Doug:
And Demptos is a barrel producer, they ...

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
... produce barrels.

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
And for many, we, many, most of us have used their barrels for many years worth of barrel producers too, but

Tim:
Oh yeah, Louis and Pierre ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... were the elder generation, and then Philippe, and ...

Doug:
Right, Philippe.

Tim:
... Dominic were a little bit older than I was at the time, but they carried on, they would show me all over the place in Bordeaux, as they had my father before, and it was such an amazing time, but we became good friends, and and we were, we became their largest barrel purchaser ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... as we did with Francois Ferrer and Burgundy, and I know, but it was a big deal.

Doug:
That's great, and so the 1970s, so you're probably just going to college at that point?

Tim:
Oh yeah, I was between, between my freshman and sophomore in college.

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
So you came back and said, "Let's do it. Let's, let's go on."

Tim:
Yeah, I did ...

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
... and so I started taking chemistry classes, and biochem, and organic, and all of that stuff-

Doug:
All that stuff, yeah.

Tim:
... all of that stuff, which I have squeaked through, and probably forgotten.

Doug:
We have that in common too (laughs).

Tim:
(laughs).

Doug:
So you come out with the viticulture enology, who were, who were some of your peers in that program, they're, they're still in the wine biz?

Tim:
Oh, golly, well there were people before, well Jerry Luper was ahead-

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... of me in the valley, it was a small, it was a small class, but growing ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... rapidly. The professors there, Danny Webb, Dr. Webb ...

Doug:
Right, Dr. Webb.

Tim:
... was there, Dr. Amarine, Hudburg -

Doug:
The original guys.

Tim:
Yeah, oh yeah, ABCs, Amarine, Berg, and Cruz ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... and they had the technology of wine, but yeah they were, they were very impressive, and particularly Dr. Amarine who would tell stories, he was the global, the globetrotter, and ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... had the best stories, but, oh yeah those are the early days.

Doug:
Yeah. So you come out of Davis, and do you, do you go straight to Robert Mondavi, or do you go somewhere else?

Tim:
Sure. No, I was there, I worked at Robert Mondavi every year ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... since it began, I put the first valves on the first tanks ...

Doug:
Did you? That's kind of cool.

Tim:
... as a 15-year-old kid, I was told how to use that tape, and the -

Doug:
Yeah, the Teflon tape. Got it.

Tim:
The Teflon tape, you put the valves on ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and you have them straight, and, the first harvest was before there was a roof on the ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... cellar but, dad was hell-bent for election to have it happen, and it did. So, I should also say that we broke ground on my sister's birthday, July 16th ...

Doug:
Wow!

Tim:
... just a couple days ago now, but July 16th of '66, and although the very first crush was at Charles Krug ...

Doug:
Got it, okay, for the '66 vintage.

Tim:
... and so the very first portion of the first crush, but thereafter the crush continued at Robert Mondavi in 1966, and interestingly enough, I work there in '66 and then '67 which is the year that the Chappellet's had their first crush, and it was at Robert Mondavi, and I worked on their Chappellet wines ...

Doug:
I didn't know that.

Tim:
... as a kid.

Doug:
So Chappellet was custom crushed, obviously custom crushing-

Tim:
Yes, they were building their wine ...

Doug:
They were building.

Tim:
... not yet completed, and ...

Doug:
So they crushed.

Tim:
... as, as the very first portion of the '66 harvest was at Krug, my father always had open doors and would help anybody as the valley did.

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
I think their aging was at Schramsberg if I remember the story correctly but ...

Doug:
But you ...

Tim:
... but their crush, I worked on the Chappellet wines as a kid with Warren Winiarski.

Doug:
So these are, this is great. So this is Cabernet from Pritchard Hill with Chappellets-

Tim:
Well, it was Chenin Blanc.

Doug:
Seven block, but it's, basically it's Pritchard Hill ...

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
... and because you go full circle, 'cause that's where your new home is now, Continuum.

Tim:
Yes, exactly, we're contiguous to them, and, and, and ironically, the mother of my children, Dorothy, was a babysitter for Molly Chappellet ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... and so all of the kids know Dorothy, and so it just shows how small a valley this valley really was.

Doug:
Well, it, it was, and, you know, I, we, we came, I guess I feel like I've been here a long enough time to be f- almost, almost a native, but '73, I got to tell you something, and, 'cause you've touched on, and I've made a note, 'cause, it's really important to say, and I'm not sure where it came from, or was it the spirit of the valley, but I think your dad, and your family, and I was curious if you were aware of your dad's, my impression was it was your dad's philosophy, or basically the philosophy of your whole family at Robert Mondavi Winery. I, and I say family, meaning not just family members, but staff, and employees, because when I was starting out winemaking, basically, and coming up, the word was, if you want to know anything that's going on, you can call Mondavi Vintage, they'll tell you, they will share stuff with you, they'll share what they've learned, they'll share this, I was like, "Yeah, right. Yeah right." And I'm here, I walk into this place in 1983, I'd worked for Randy Mason for two years as a cellar rat, yeah I had a degree, but you know I was way green, way t- I walked into a disaster, pretend I'm icy, it's too numerous to count, I've got flawed wines, I've got this, I've got that, I was like, "Help." I had some consultant, or consultant that was fine, but was out lamenting one time to someone, and they said, "Hey, you should, you should call up Brad Warner over at Mondavi."

Tim:
Yeah. I said, "Who's that?" He goes, "Oh, he's one of the winemakers, you know, he works with Tim, and, you know, they've got a whole crew of guys." I said, "You're kidding me." He said, "No, call him up." I called him up, if I'd known you I would have called you, and I said, "Hey, you got some time?" I sat down in his office, I had a whole list of questions for like two hours, I said, "Brad, you know, what do I do about this? What do I do about this cooperage that's, that's infected with brett? And how do I clean up ... " You know? And he was, he was as patient, and as giving, and as sharing as I've ever, I'll never forget it ...

Tim:
Yeah, and he still is.

Doug:
... and, and it became evident that this was kind of the way it was, especially at Mondavi with you guys, and it, it shared, and, and you know you take it a step further, it's, sure it's being good neighbors, but probably to quote your dad and you, a r- you know, a rising, a rising tide.

Tim:
Absolutely.

Doug:
So all of a sudden, Napa Valley quality of wines back in the '50s, '60s, so-so, so-so, in a 30 or 40 year period, look at the quality of the wines in this valley as to, to quote your father, you know, we can be as good as anyone in the world ...

Tim:
Absolutely.

Doug:
... and it happened in a 30 year period, not a 300 year period, because of that spirit of sharing ...

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
... and that came from, that came from you-

Tim:
Absolutely.

Doug:
... that came from you guys. I mean, you, you-

Tim:
Well, I think it did, and I ...

Doug:
... Tim, you guys had that rep, it was like -

Tim:
No it is true, we did have that, I don't know, I would say that it is also the spirit of my grandmother particularly, she was a very gregarious, outgoing gal, it is said of her, there, she is written up in a book called Americans By Choice ...

Doug:
Oh really?

Tim:
... by Angelo Pellegrini, and in fact there are stories about the Martinis, and my grandmother, and a number of others, but it is a, a, a very sweet brief read that speaks about, the immigrant spirit, and, St. Helena is built by immigrants at that time, by Italian immigrants, the Martinis would want to work with people that would speak Italian, and the Mondavis ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... would, so Charles Krug, and Martini Winery would have lots of Italians, and, and but there was a spirit people would say of my grandmother, first of all she was a fabulous cook ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... and there was a l- how many places to set the table, there were, there were six of us, she'd always set it for 10, there may be a few people just dropping by.

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
You know, and so-

Doug:
That's cool.

Tim:
... she set, a tone of welcome that my grandfather Cesare and she had, and my father carried on with that, and it is a question of, yes what's good for you is good for me, but it's also just out of a spirit of generosity, and I think wine is a beverage of generosity, its whole purpose is to bring people together in health and happiness ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... and so hospitality is central to our, to our family, and also as a result I think this entire valley, and that's the reason why the vintners, well my father was a part of the for-

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... formation of the vintners, and I was with him when he presented, I was on the board of the vintners, in '78, and prior actually, but, you know, it was, I, I w- I was with my father when he brought the idea of the, of the Napa Valley Wine Auction ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... its Auction Napa Valley now, but it was, then it was Napa Valley wine Auction ...

Doug:
And it's, and it, in 30 plus years it's a, over $185 million ...

Tim:
Yes. That's right.

Doug:
... that we've raised for its community.

Tim:
Yeah, without last year's, so it'll be 197 more, so just under $200 million-

Doug:
Look at you, you're, you're way ahead of it, yeah, amazing.

Tim:
... with last year's.

Doug:
But look, so look how a cultural, a cultural, or a very personal family norm of openness and welcoming just to family and friends through you guys spread that into the business world, and normally you think you don't want to share ideas 'cause somebody will beat you out, it's like, "No, we can all be successful here."

Tim:
No, absolutely.

Doug:
Yeah. Are we com- are we competitive? Sure, but there's-

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
... enough room for everybody.

Tim:
I think, I think we're co- I think collectively we have helped Napa Valley be recognized as a-

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... very important place, and if you're one off, then yours one off.

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
If you can build a category, if you build a, a recognition, and if Shafer wines are well recognized, then other wines will be from the area ...

Doug:
Sure, sure.

Tim:
... neighboring wines will be, and so everybody benefits from that, and if anybody doesn't do so, well it hurts too.

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
So ...

Doug:
Yeah. I, actually sometimes I'll be at a tasting, there'll be someone who, you know, is, you know, up the road or down the road, and I'll taste their wine and it's like, "Hmm, hmm, this could be better."

Tim:
(laughs).

Doug:
I mean, yeah, I'm not trying to be critical, but it's like ...

Tim:
Sure.

Doug:
... darn it, you know, come on guys, 'cause we're-

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
... we've all gotten Napa Valley on the label.

Tim:
Yeah, yeah that's right.

Doug:
That's, that's important.

Tim:
Yeah, that's right.

Doug:
So good. So you were at the wine, so you were at Mondavi for 30 years in charge of wine?

Tim:
I was in charge of the wines for 30 years, '74 to 2004.

Doug:
Wow!

Tim:
You know, now I was put in ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... in charge of the wines, but I too recognize that I did not know everything, I still don't, (laughs) 40 some odd years later and so I think it's, it is very important to be interdependent with great people, and so you mentioned Brad Warner ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... Brad had worked at Charles Krug Winery before coming over to Robert Mondavi, and he was-

Doug:
I didn't know that.

Tim:
... a cornerstone of the foundation of Robert Mondavi, Warren Winiarski as I mentioned ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... Mike Grgich, Zelma Long-

Doug:
Zelma Long, yeah.

Tim:
... were all there lots of great people came through, people know the winemakers, but the cellar master Brad was a cellar master ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... and he was absolutely incredible, but ultimately it's all about people, and if you can attract smart capable people, and get them on your wavelength, then fabulous things can happen ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and my father was a master at that. He was a natural-born leader, he had a vision, and everybody wanted a part of it, and his vision was large enough to em- envelop everybody else ...

Doug:
Hmm.

Tim:
... and I think that is leadership, it's leadership. So he was an amazing man.

Doug:
Well you got to, you got to work with him how many years?

Tim:
Well, I worked full-time with him for 30 years ...

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
... but that doesn't count high school, or college ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... because I was there as well, and again I was working with Warren and, and-

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
... Mike, and Zelma, who I worked with for 10 years, and, then I was, you know, purely in charge, I shouldn't say purely, because that's, I don't know if you're ever purely in-

Doug:
No, no.

Tim:
... charge, it is a question of providing guidance, or leadership, and touching things this way or that, but ultimately it is having a vision that people tie into ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and believe in, and work hard towards realization of.

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
So that's, that's the fun part of it.

Doug:
And over those 30 years, I mean it started with Robert Mondavi, then there's Opus One, Vishon, Woodbridge, on and on, I mean it was like, go- was, I'm, I'm assuming your dad was driving that, or were you, were you guys driving it together?

Tim:
Well, my father had the big vision, my father had the vision of excelling in wine, I, I think that there were a number of things that led to, that my father always wanted to go very fairly quickly, and, as I mentioned in sixt- well, eh, I don't when, need to go into all the details, but-

Doug:
Sure.

Tim:
... yes he, he wanted to grow, and things happened that led to the table wines, needing to be developed ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and Bob Red, Bob White, Robert Mondavi Red, Robert Mondavi White ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... and then that evolved, and then that gave us ...

Doug:
Great products.

Tim:
... the scope.

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
It was, and it was a new category. It was a new category at the time.

Doug:
It was great, hey had really good solid wine, and not too expensive, and it's-

Tim:
Oh yeah.

Doug:
... man, it was wonderful.

Tim:
It was a brand new category of its day ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... but then we also did have Opus One develop in '79, in '93 we did go public and that allowed us to do a number of things, we developed, and I, I led the charge on taking us to Italy, and I had a-

Doug:
That's right, that's right.

Tim:
... tough job Doug, I had a tough job of having to go to Italy, and, so many times ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... and putting up with my, the things like my grandmother's cooking, and so many different areas, and discovering the regions of Italy, and I-

Doug:
It's a tough place to visit.

Tim:
It was a tough place to visit, and I had to, and I ultimately, we chose, I met Vittorio Frescobaldi, and-

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... they had many different properties throughout, but the one that resonated with me was their property in Montalcino, and so we developed Luce della Vite there ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... and that evolved into a very wonderful relationship with Vittorio, and his son Lamberto, who went to UC Davis ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... a bit younger than me, but we worked together to develop the wines ... and that led to our ownership of Ornellaia.

Doug:
That's right.

Tim:
I tried to talk Lodovico Antinori out of selling this gorgeous jewel, and because it really was absolutely a s- a fabulous thing, he saw what his uncle had done, Lodovico saw what his uncle had done in Sassicaia ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... and said, you know, "I can do that too," and he loved America, I think that Piero and Lodovico's grandmother I think was American ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... and so Lodovico asked Andre Tchelistcheff to consult with him in the formation of Ornellaia ...

Doug:
That's right.

Tim:
... yeah, so Gino Zappone, who was an engineer, who had-

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... designed Domain Chandon ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... to help build, design the winery of Ornellaia, so there was a lot of, and Chuck House, did the label Chuck House is the ...

Doug:
Yeah, the graphic.

Tim:
... artist that did the, the graphic work on the label, and has done many, many labels throughout this area ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... but so Ornellaia r- was really born of Lodovico's love affair with Napa Valley, and the, and Napa Valley's being for him a realization of a rebirth, the possibility of a rebirth, and Ornellaia really, Lodovico and Piero, adored my father, they adored what they saw him doing ... and Piero's two daughters worked with us as have you ...

Doug:
I didn't know that.

Tim:
... worked with us-

Doug:
That's great.

Tim:
... in, in the tours, and retail ...

Doug:
Oh fun.

Tim:
... and so there's always been a, been a wonderful affection between the Antinoris, and our family, but at any rate, I tried to talk Lodovico out of selling ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... this gorgeous property, but he had had a string of bad luck over the past number of years, and, and he said, "Tim, Tim, yes I've, I've learned two things about myself, one, I love to create things, you know, with my history, my family's history, my love of art, I love to create things, but second, I know that I hate to manage them, I'm terrible at managing, you take it over."

Doug:
There you go. There you go.

Tim:
So we did (laughs).

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
We did, and it was incredible, but, and so I learned a lot of things there too, with the, the Frescobaldis, but also there at Ornellaia ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... I became enamored yet again with Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... at Robert Mondavi, the wines were inspired by the great wines of, the great Cabernets of the world, meaning the Medoc.

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
The Medoc was the only classified wines of the time, um, first growths, and they were rich in Cabernet Sauvignon, a small amount of Cabernet Franc, and, and Merlot and that's what Robert Mondavi followed, but Ornellaia reinforced the importance of Cabernet Franc, and certainly Merlot with their Masetto ...

Doug:
Yeah, Masetto. It's great.

Tim:
... but here, here Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot did very, very well, so that reinforced my love affair with those varieties, and so it helped impact Continuum, in fact all of our history has helped us there, so.

Doug:
So, getting to Continuum, 2004 comes, Mondavi's publicly held, all of a sudden, yeah, you know, all of a sudden it's a big change ...

Tim:
Oh boy.

Doug:
... and, and you, and Marcia, and Michael, your siblings, you know, you're out, and-

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
But how, that must have been really, really rough ...

Tim:
Oh absolutely.

Doug:
... and how, how'd you, how'd you get through it, how'd you do it, how'd you, how'd you get the gumption to get up and go, and get back on the train?

Tim:
Well, you know, we went public in '93 under one set-

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... of rules, and then the rules changed ...

Doug:
Oh.

Tim:
... and then, Enron scandal took place, and Sarbanes-Oxley came in, and our outside board looked upon us as insiders, insiders were out, so ...

Doug:
Oh.

Tim:
... bit by bit my father's name was overused, and that led to a long period of anguish ...

Doug:
Hmm.

Tim:
... of seeing the equity that my, that the, the shift away from clarity of focus.

Doug:
Hmm.

Tim:
I think my grandfather was successful, because he had clarity of focus, my father was successful because he had clarity of focus, but then after the rules was changed, our outside directors overused my father's good name, and dissipated that, and so we hit some bumps, and boom there it goes, but it was a long time coming ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... and so we were at very heavy hearts, and, but as I, I have discovered, if, if you are going to have a heavy heart, it's nice to have a bag of money ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... and we did have a bag of money ...

Doug:
Well good.

Tim:
... and that allowed us to carry forward with his dream of producing, continuing this trajectory that my grandfather got us going, my father continued up ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and we have just carried it upward in a very small way, in a very small way with Continuum ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... we have carried on the best, with the best of what my family stood for, and have focused all of our attention on this one wine, and that has been very inspiring for me, and very gratifying to see that when I was trying to get our board to understand the importance of clarity of focus ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and they said, "Oh, well, you're the silver-tongued artiste.," you know?

Doug:
Wow!

Tim:
Yeah, you know, you know nothing about business, and I used to say, "Well, you know, maybe they probably knew the balance, you know, the balance sheet better than I did, they had no idea what they were balancing their sheet on."

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
Um ...

Doug:
It's called, you call, you, you call it clarity of focus, I call it brand ...

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
... and, you know, you, we, you protect it, I mean it's sacred.

Tim:
Oh, absolutely.

Doug:
Everything.

Tim:
Absolutely.

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
It is, it is ...

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
... it is your identity.

Doug:
It's, identity, right.

Tim:
It is your identity.

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
You've got to build it, and you've got to protect it ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and you have to f- keep it focused. So at any rate, so Continuum is born of this commitment to have this estate, a single estate, and the single wine from this fabulous estate they're just up the hills from you here.

Doug:
You t- you probably look down on me, you can go out in the edge of your vineyard ...

Tim:
(laughs).

Doug:
... and you probably, you know, spy on me or something.

Tim:
Well, it, it is a gorgeous property, and-

Doug:
But it's up on Pritchard Hill.

Tim:
... we are also, we are Oakville with altitude.

Doug:
Oakville what altitude.

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
That's right.

Tim:
Now we have 173 acres of land, we currently have 62, well ultimately we will, when we grow up and be big one day, we'll have 70 acres of vines ...

Doug:
Wow! That's a great size.

Tim:
... and we will be quite, quite a bit smaller than we were with Opus One ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... or quite a bit smaller than Opus, and smaller than any project that we had been involved with at Robert Mondavi.

Doug:
How do you feel about that?

Tim:
I feel terrific about that-

Doug:
Yeah, yeah.

Tim:
... because we can control everything, we've got a superstar team, people that have worked with me, that surprisingly enough, well I should also say that my sister works with me has-

Doug:
Right, that's right.

Tim:
... invested in ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... in Continuum with me, she knew me, and in spite of that is ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... wanted to work with me in this, and there are a number of people that, I've been fortunate enough to have participated, and help make Continuum happen. So ...

Doug:
Well, in- including your kids, you got ...

Tim:
I am absolutely delighted to have five kids-

Doug:
... you gout four, you have five kids working with you.

Tim:
... working with us, and, and also now my sister's son, Brian ...

Doug:
It's fun.

Tim:
... is working with us. So I'm particularly proud of that, he had the opportunity of knowing better, and he chose to work with us ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... in spite of that, so, in which, and he's having a great time, and all of, you know, we all are loving what we're doing, we're very proud of what we're doing, and delighted to be able to work together, and, fight together. Well, we don't really fight, but we do have discussions.

Doug:
No, it's, it's healthy, healthy disagreements.

Tim:
Yeah, healthy discussions ...

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
But I think that w- everybody is very proud of what we have accomplished, the 2016 vintage is our 12th release ...

Doug:
Is it the t- I can't believe that.

Tim:
... already, already, time flies when you're having fun ... so we're having a great time.

Doug:
Did you, so you've got a lot of family working with you, you came from another operation with just family, so did you, are the things you learned working with your dad, that you brought to the, now working with your kids, or there are new things you've-

Tim:
Oh boy.

Doug:
... are there, it's a, you know, it's a, it's a wide open question, are there new things-

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
... you're learning now as you go along, you know?

Tim:
Well, I think that clarity of focus is the-

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... most important thing ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... and alignment, alignment of all the different vectors ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... to just proper alignment around that, such that everyone within the organization has a, a good comfort level as to what they can do, and what needs to be done, and so I think that, we do have a great spirit, a superstar team, and I get to go out in the marketplace, and present it very proudly, and I get to be involved in the wines, and the vineyards, and get to have people that are f- far better at, counti- I, if I sometimes I get hung up between 8 and 9, and getting to 10 ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... when I count to 10 I'm, it's a good day, but I've got people that, that understand things incredibly well there from a financial perspective, and the, our whole team is dedicated to what we're doing, so we're having a fabulous time with that.

Doug:
That's great, that's great. Well, I see, I see Carissa on the road, you know, here and there ...

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
... it's great, it's fun-

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
... because all of a sudden we've had a chance to get to know each other a little bit ...

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
Best way for fi- folks to find Continuum Wines?

Tim:
Continuumestate.com.

Doug:
Continuumestate.com.

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
Two Us, continuumestate.com ...

Doug:
Got it.

Tim:
... continuum estate is singular, and, yeah we have a website that shows a number of the photographs, a little bit of our history, and what our aspirations are, and, yeah it's ...

Doug:
And, and it's just a one wine every year, or is there another wine?

Tim:
Well, we have, we do everything we possibly can to protect the integrity ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... of Continuum ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... and so we sell the first crop off of our young vines to others, that kind of line up to get fruit from our vineyard, Sage Mountain Vineyard, high on Pritchard Hill, we're the highest average elevation vineyard on Pritchard Hill, and the highest winery on Pritchard Hill ...

Doug:
Work that story, and work it hard (laughs).

Tim:
You gotta believe it, and, but we do everything to protect it, and so we sell the first, the young grapes off of our young vines, for the first few years ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... then bring them in, and then they usually are a little bit on the younger side still-

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... and so they go to our second wine from the property, which we call Novicium.

Doug:
Novicium.

Tim:
And Novicium, it's like the novitiate of our estate ...

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... 100% estate, but, you know, or th- basically the young vines and young wine of that, that still shows the promise, but Continuum is, is the main wine, and it is, we do everything we possibly can to protect the, its integrity, and since Continuum is the one wine on which our family's long proud history has a bright-

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... future, it's got to be right, and so we are incredibly selective with it ...

Doug:
Good.

Tim:
... and very proud of it.

Doug:
Good. Got to ask you, who's the winemaker.

Tim:
Well, I get to play with it ...

Doug:
Oh, come on man (laughs).

Tim:
... and I also have a, I, I, I get to play with it, and guide it, and direct it, but I've got a fabulous team ...

Doug:
Good.

Tim:
... we have an associate winemaker that works with me, that is a terrific guy now, I've had, anyways, we've, we've got a superstar team ...

Doug:
Super.

Tim:
... all the way through.

Doug:
Well, you know, I, you know, I turned over winemaking to Elias, a heck of a long time ago, and, you know, it, it was probably the best thing for the business we ever did, but boy was this for a few years not making wine was tough as-

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
... far as I'd, you know, 'cause when you're the winemaker, you know, you're the guy ...

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
... you know, you're calling all the shots-

Tim:
Well ...

Doug:
... you're, you know, when to pick, when, what tank you-

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
... press this ...

Tim:
Yeah, when to pick ...

Doug:
... barrels ...

Tim:
... but I also say that-

Doug:
... all that stuff.

Tim:
... I have again Steve Nelson is our, the associate winemaker now that works with me, he's a terrific guy, I've had the good fortune of working with Carrie Findleton for many years, 10 years actually and, and she has gone to a higher order of pursuing her own family, she has two daughters now, and ...

Doug:
Great.

Tim:
... had the tough choice to be a mom, which I think is the most important thing you can possibly do ...

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
But at any rate, we've had a, we have a, a great team, so, yes I do call all the picks, and yes I am involved in all the blends, and I listen, and defer occasionally when it makes sense to me, (laughs) and ...

Doug:
(laughs).

Tim:
... but ultimately that's my baby.

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
I designed the winery, and built-

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
... it to cordi- it's my dream cellar ...

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... it really is, so, it's, I've been involved in developing a lot of cellars, I've designed Opus one, designed-

Doug:
That's right.

Tim:
... much of Robert Mondavi Winery, we designed Byron Winery, we designed wineries in Chile, we've designed wineries in, well throughout, and, so Continuum is very simple, it's very focused, and it works.

Doug:
Nice. I've yet to be there, so I'm gonna-

Tim:
You're welcome.

Doug:
... I'm gonna come to-

Tim:
Please ...

Doug:
... take a drive up the hill.

Tim:
... come up. Yeah.

Doug:
I'm gonna drive my car, I won't ride my bike.

Tim:
(laughs) Okay, no don't.

Doug:
It's steep ...

Tim:
(laughing) Don't. It's very steep.

Doug:
Little bit of a personal question.

Tim:
Sure.

Doug:
Y-y-your dad's been gone 11 years.

Tim:
Uh-huh (affirmative).

Doug:
What do you miss about, about having him around?

Tim:
Oh, golly. Oh, he was such an inspiration.

Doug:
Hmm.

Tim:
You know, he would walk into a room and, and it would just light up. And he would always be urging you to go, go, go higher. Go higher and try this, try that. And, I tried to keep on with that same spirit-

Doug:
Hmm.

Tim:
... but he had an energy that just would not quit. And, and a charisma that was endless. And I see that charisma in my children now-

Doug:
Interesting. Yeah.

Tim:
... and, and so they carry that same spirit out into the market. Um, I knew my grandfather Cesare, I knew my grandmother. I'm probably a little bit like my grandfather Cesare and my father was more like my grandmother-

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
... much more gregarious, much more outgoing.

Doug:
Yes.

Tim:
But, there's a little bit of each of them in, all of us, I suppose.

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). What do you th-, what do you wish that your dad could've seen? That you've accomplished.

Tim:
Oh, golly. He, I was able to show him the property before we closed escrow-

Doug:
I was won-, I was wondering about that. Did you get-

Tim:
Yeah-

Doug:
Oh, that's great.

Tim:
... he saw it. He wasn't able to speak, he was in a wheelchair.

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
But I showed it to him and you could tell, y-you could tell, you could see his eyes, and we both got quite misty-eyed and touched when I showed him that we were in escrow on this gorgeous property-

Doug:
Hmm.

Tim:
Absolutely gorgeous. So, it was very odd feeling for my family to not have a vine to our name after 2004.

Doug:
I bet.

Tim:
Not, not a, not one vine and, it was a very difficult time, but now, I think he'd be very proud of what we have and, he would say, "You should be much farther along than you are."

Doug:
(laughing)

Tim:
But -

Doug:
Why haven't I seen ... Why haven't you broken ground, yet?

Tim:
... at the same time, we are, I'm very proud of where we are and, you know, it's wh-, we've rebuilt a strong foundation for the fourth generation to carry forward.

Doug:
Well, and, and it's your baby.

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
You know, Tim? It's, it's, it's, it's Tim Mondavi's place.

Tim:
Well, yes. It is, but it's, it's-

Doug:
I know fam-, I know it's, I know it's family, but still.

Tim:
Yes.

Doug:
I mean, I'm gonna, you know.

Tim:
Well, it also is the ... It is the culmination now of a hundred years.

Doug:
Yeah.

Tim:
So, you know, after a hundred years, we're an overnight success.

Doug:
(laughs)

Tim:
You know, but it, it is the culmination of all the experiences we've had.

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim:
In the formation of Opus One, knowing working with the Rothschilde family, working in Chile with Eduardo Chadwick, and Senya. Working in Italy with the Frescobaldis -

Doug:
Right.

Tim:
... and you know, it's all ... It's a culmination of all of that and, yes, my own interpretation of that with my family.

Doug:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). It's a great story.

Tim:
Hmm.

Doug:
What, what's next? Next generation, the next generation. What's under, what's, what's gonna happen?

Tim:
Oh, golly. Well, yeah. Well, I should also say that I'm very proud of my two sons, Carlo and Dante. They have followed a dream of mine to the Sonoma coast where they have a pinot noir project-

Doug:
That's right.

Tim:
... that they call Raen. R-A-E-N. And Raen is, and they have done a great job.

Doug:
How fun.

Tim:
It is, a very bright, lively, vibrant pinot noir-

Doug:
Pinot noir.

Tim:
... and Chardonnay that both are absolutely outstanding. It's dominantly pinot noir, a small amount of chardonnay. But, I think Carlo and Dante have done a fabulous job with that, and it is beginning to be recognized for the, the very, very high-quality that it is.

Doug:
Good for them.

Tim:
So, and, and I was particularly delighted that one of their wines is called Royal St. Robert. And-

Doug:
Royal St. Robert.

Tim:
Royal St. Robert. And -

Doug:
There's a story there.

Tim:
There is a story there. Carlo often says that his, it was inspired by his grandfather-

Doug:
Okay.

Tim:
... and he says that he was not royal, nor a saint-

Doug:
(laughs)

Tim:
... but inspired them incredibly. And, so Royal St. Robert, and if you look on the neck label it is up, it, there is RGM Heart and Soul.

Doug:
Oh.

Tim:
Because my father used to always tell us, always, "Whatever you do, do it completely. Do it with your whole heart and soul."

Doug:
Hmm.

Tim:
And, and so, Carlo has that on the neck label of each of his individual offerings.

Doug:
That's ... That's great. That's so neat.

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
Ah.

Tim:
So, I'm very proud of that.

Doug:
Well, you should be.

Tim:
Yeah.

Doug:
Way to go, Dad.

Tim:
Oh. Well, yeah, it's ... Again, it's a continuum.

Doug:
A contin- continuum. I love it. Tim, thanks so much for coming in, taking the time.

Tim:
Yeah, Doug. Thank you. It's great fun talking with you-

Doug:
Great.

Tim:
... and thank you for, for doing this podcast. There's a lot of great stories in this valley, and lots of individual personalities and-

Doug:
That's part of the reason I-

Tim:
... thank you for revealing that.

Doug:
That's part of the reason I've been doing it, because everybody ... Even folks I know really well come in and it's like I find something out about them-

Tim:
Oh, of course.

Doug:
... I never knew. It's amazing.

Tim:
Oh, yes.

Doug:
All right, take care.

Tim:
Thank you.