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Peter Mondavi Sr. (1914 - 2016)

AP Photo / Eric Risberg

Peter Mondavi Sr. (1914 - 2016)

Peter Mondavi, a wine pioneer in California's Napa Valley before it became known as a premier grape-growing region, has died. He was 101.

Mondavi died Saturday at his home in St. Helena, California, according to multiple news sources. Wendy Lane Stevens, a member of the C. Mondavi and Family board of directors, announced his death.

Mondavi's father, Charles, and his older brother, Robert, bought the Charles Krug Winery during the early 1940s.

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By the mid-'60s, the two brothers had disagreements about the direction of the business, and Robert left to start his own winery. The Charles Krug winery is still in operation.

Peter Mondavi, who studied wine making in college, is credited with introducing many important advancements for the Napa Valley and greater California winemaking business. One of the most significant innovations involved fermenting green grapes at colder temperatures, which helps the resulting white wines take on incredibly delicious, crisp and fruity characteristics. The change turned ordinary wines into great ones, and the Napa Valley – once known for its cheap jug wine – is a wine-growing region highly regarded among wine fanatics.

At the time of his death, Mondavi was no longer running the business, but the centenarian continued to show up at the office. He credited his Italian genetics and a daily glass of red wine, in part, for his longevity. His son Marc Mondavi runs the company's CK Mondavi Vineyard division that produces affordable, quaffable wines. Son Peter Mondavi Jr. produces premium Napa Valley wines under the Charles Krug label.

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