In Memory of Margrit Mondavi (1925-2016)

9/4/2016 6:33:07 PM

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From left to right:  Julio Palmaz, Margrit Mondavi, Amalia Palmaz, Robert Mondavi

By FLORENCia Palmaz

GROWING UP IN TEXAS, it was not surprising to have pies and flowers show up to the house when arriving to a new neighborhood. As a child, I remember my mother being constantly interrupted on moving day by neighbors just dropping by. On that day while she may have felt inconvenienced by the interruptions, the lasting impression of being personally welcomed by our neighbors bound us to that community forever. Some people call it Southern Hospitality, but after having met Margrit Mondavi, I can call it Wine Country Hospitality as well.

In 1996 my parents, Amalia and Julio, arrived to Napa and quietly purchased a piece of the Valley’s forgotten history. Few people took notice of these two unassuming Argentine – Texas transplants as they went about the task of learning how to be farmers. But, one couple took notice that sparked a friendship for decades to come.

Within few months of arriving to Napa, Margrit and Robert Mondavi invited my parents to their home for dinner one evening. At the entrance of their dinning room she had hand painted a small sign saying, “Welcome Amalia and Julio”. That evening Margrit and Robert Mondavi offered their help and support as our family began the long process of resurrecting the vineyard and winery.¬† Years later Robert Mondavi would tell my father “You are crazier than I am!” when he finally saw the cave we built.

The simple act of inviting total strangers over for an intimate dinner in their home was just one example of the generous and hospitable nature of Margrit Mondavi. I’d love to say that my parents were unique in having this experience, but over the years I have come to hear countless other vintners with similar stories. The Mondavi’s sincerely cared about the community and took the time to reach out to countless newcomers as they arrived.

Margrit Mondavi was a talented artist, an excellent cook, and tremendous hostess. She will be missed. While her husband revolutionized the wine industry in Napa, her charm and hospitality helped bind the community together.

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