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American wine pioneer Peter Mondavi dies at 101

By Shawn Price   |   Feb. 23, 2016 at 3:44 AM
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SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Napa Valley wine pioneer Peter Mondavi has died. He was 101.

Mondavi and family own the Charles Krug Winery, and over a span of 70 years helped transform the Napa Valley region in Northern California into one of the premiere wine regions in the world.

Mondavi's parents bought the Krug Winery in 1943. The winery was already the oldest in the Napa Valley, founded by Krug, a Prussian emigrant, in 1861.

Peter Mondavi battled with his brother Robert Mondavi over the winery until they split in the 1960s. Robert left to form his own winery in 1966 and Peter became CEO of the Krug Winery after his mother's death in 1976.

Monday was the first to import oak barrels from France for aging, was among the first to plant pinot noir and chardonnay grapes in the region and improved California winemaking by using cold fermentation for white wines and sterile filtration.

Peter and Robert reconciled and made a special blend of wine in 2005.

Today the winery is still family owned, run by his sons Marc and Peter Jr., with 850 acres of vineyards in the prime real estate in Napa Valley.

Mondavi credited his longevity to good genes, hard work, pasta Bolognese and a glass of cabernet sauvignon every day.

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