After graduating from Stanford University with a degree in business and economics, he initially worked with his father at Sunnyhill Winery. In 1943, Cesare bought Charles Krug Winery and his sons Robert and Peter began to restore the property.
But the two brothers had a falling out and Robert left the family business to start his own winery in 1966. He chose a site along Highway 29 in the small town of Oakville. This winery is one of the most recognizable in the state.
From the beginning, Robert Mondavi always emphasized quality of quantity. He was an early advocate of entering Napa Valley Wines into blind taste tests with international heavyweights. He was responsible for many innovations throughout California Wine Country. These included the use of cold fermentation, and the use of stainless steel tanks.
Mondavi established the Great Chefs Program in 1976. This program promotes public awareness of the union between food and wine and has hosted many world famous chefs.
Robert Mondavi also founded the Mission Program in the 1980s with the goal of advocating the social and health benefits of moderate wine consumption. This was in response to the strong zero tolerance movement of the time.
Mondavi has also partnered with many famous wine families over the course of his career. The most notable of these unions was the Opus One venture with Baron Philippe de Rothschild. Opus One is a fusion of the Napa Valley and Bordeaux styles.
Mondavi has also partnered with the Eduardo Chardwick Family of Chile, the Oatley Family of Australia and Frescobaldi Family of Italy. His newest venture is a cultural center in the City of Napa named COPIA. A true renaissance man, Mondavi has had a lasting impact on California Wine Country.