With a long history dating back to America’s Prohibition Era, the Mondavi family is widely acclaimed as one of the premium winegrowers in California’s Napa Valley.
Following a change of ownership in 2004, the third Mondavi generation started anew, spearheaded by Tim Mondavi and his sister Marcia, to carry on the legacy. Today, the family is independently producing Continuum, a premium Bordeaux blend, out of their beautiful Sage Mountain vineyard.
What’s the key to a great bottle of Continuum?
After all the exposure I’ve had as I worked together with other winegrowers in opening wineries around California and all over the world, I have a great respect for what the region of Burgundy, teaches: the essence of a great wine is the importance of site.
Great wines need a site that causes the vines to struggle a little bit. In Burgundy, there’s a saying to not plant on top of the hill because there’s not enough soil for support. By contrast, it’s also not on the valley floor because there’s such an abundance of soil and moisture that the vines focus more on the vegetation and less on the berries’ flavour, which results in a diluted and more herbaceous flavour.
The best wines, such as the Grand and Premier Cru, are always from the side of the hill where the vines have to struggle more, work harder, and produce smaller yet more mature and richer-flavoured berries. This is why we are blessed to have Sage Mountain Vineyard at around 450m above sea level.
As Continuum is still a young and a small-scale winery, how does it fare in today’s market?
The family’s legacy has grown alongside California’s wine history and thus has relationships and experiences with top-notch winegrowers around the world. In today’s market, there’s a renaissance around the world—a discovery of fine wines—as a result of prices and demands going up, along with appreciation for great wines growing globally.
This, in turn, allows us to invest in better sites and quality than before, and to start rediscovering the hillsides just as back then when Charles Krug first started planting in Napa Valley.
Continuum is now focusing on bottling blended wines. Which varieties are planted for and included in each bottle?
We planned to plant on 70ha out of 130ha of land, of which now 25ha is covered with four varieties: 55 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 per cent Cabernet Franc, 15 per cent Petit Verdot, and 5 per cent Merlot. With this ratio, every year we have a selection of the best and designed the winery to honour the land in organic ways, such as enacting waterconservation protocols and installing solarthermal panels.