Wine industry pioneer dies

Robert Mondavi, the vintner who built his career and helped an iconic Northern California industry blossom by insisting that Napa Valley wines could compete with the best in the world, has died in the valley.

Mr Mondavi, 94, died peacefully at his home in Yountville, Robert Mondavi Winery spokeswoman Mia Malm said.

He was 52 when, in 1966, he opened the winery that would help turn the Napa Valley into a world centre of the industry.

California was still primarily known for cheap jug wines, but Mr Mondavi championed the use of cold fermentation, stainless steel tanks and French oak barrels, all commonplace in the industry today.

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