Popularized Napa Valley wines with his own Robert Mondavi Winery, which he grew into a $500 million-a-year business.
He saw an opportunity to buy a struggling wine brand after finishing a business degree at Stanford and deliver wines made in their vineyard under its label.
He introduced European winemaking techniques, including oak barrels for aging the wines and fermentation tanks made of stainless steel.
He came from a winemaking family, his father Cesare a part owner of a Napa Valley vineyard.
He and Julia Child were both proponents of good living through food and in his case, also wine.