California winemaking patriarch Robert Mondavi dead at 94

**FILE** Robert Mondavi, who built the first new winery in the Napa Valley since prohibition, raises a toast during an interview on March 14,1984. Mondavi is among the major premium vintners who put California on the international wine map. A winery spokeswoman says the California winemaking patriarch is  dead at 94.  (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

**FILE** Robert Mondavi, who built the first new winery in the Napa Valley since prohibition, raises a toast during an interview on March 14,1984. Mondavi is among the major premium vintners who put California on the international wine map. A winery spokeswoman says the California winemaking patriarch is dead at 94. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

BERKELEY, Calif. " Robert Mondavi, the pioneering vintner who put California wine country on the global map, has died. He was 94.

Mondavi died peacefully at his home in Yountville on Friday, said Mia Malm, spokeswoman for the Robert Mondavi Winery.

Mondavi traveled the world into his 90s, promoting the cultural, social and health benefits of wine " of California wine in particular.

After being ousted from a family-run venture with his younger brother, Mondavi started his own winery in 1966 at the age of 52.

Using innovations such as cold fermentation and stainless steel tanks, he built the winery into a thriving business. But the winery struggled from rising competition among other things in the mid-1990s. In 2004, the company accepted a buyout worth $1.3 billion from Fairport, N.Y.-based Constellation Brands.

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