Thursday, June 24, 2010

Book Report

I purchased a Kindle about 6 months ago, and ever since, I have been chewing through books at an alarming rate (alarming for me, anyway). I've always been a reader, but for some reason, this amazing device has amplified my power.

My latest completion was House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty. This was a great read for wine freaks, history buffs, and business nerds (or any combination of the above). Robert Mondavi was a pioneer of the American wine industry and the establishment of California as a producer of fine wines. The book details the history of the Robert Mondavi empire, from its roots at the Charles Krug Winery through multiple generations of being a family-run business, until it finally went public in the mid-'90's and the family eventually lost all control in the company to outside influences. The author interviewed members of the Mondavi family, as well as employees of the winery and assembles a detailed, yet interesting narrative of the events that unfolded over the years.

This book is an interesting piece of wine history, as well as a fascinating look at a multi-generational family business. Robert Mondavi created an empire that eventually sank into ruin as a result of a variety of factors: family turmoil and fighting, greed, poor decisions, and bad luck. Little by little, the family lost control of the business it had built to outside influences. This book was a fascinating read for me, not only as a wine enthusiast, but also as an aspiring business-owner. It was very interesting to learn about the various changes that the Mondavi Corporation underwent over the years (both as a result of the changing economic climate and as a result of the people running the show).

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