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Harvests of Joy: How the Good Life Became Great Business

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In this autobiography of the founder of the internationally celebrated winery in Napa Valley, Robert Mondavi shares his inspirational story. In 1965, after a notorious family feud, Robert Mondavi––then 52 years old–– was thrown out of his family's winery. Far from defeated, Mondavi was dedicated to a vision of creating a superior wine. What has happened since that fateful In this autobiography of the founder of the internationally celebrated winery in Napa Valley, Robert Mondavi shares his inspirational story. In 1965, after a notorious family feud, Robert Mondavi––then 52 years old–– was thrown out of his family's winery. Far from defeated, Mondavi was dedicated to a vision of creating a superior wine. What has happened since that fateful day is one of the greatest sucess stories of American business. The Robert Mondavi Winery is respected around the world, and Mondavi is the man who is most responsible for the worldwide recognition of American winemaking, as well as changing America's palate for fine wine and fine food. In Harvests of Joy, Mondavi shares how, through his passion for excellence, he achieved this extraordinary position, one he reached not without pain and sacrifice. With invaluable insider tips on his approach to both winemaking and to running a business, Mondavi's story is "a grand example of the fact that in America you can pretty much be, do, or accomplish whatever you set out to." (Ventura County Star)


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In this autobiography of the founder of the internationally celebrated winery in Napa Valley, Robert Mondavi shares his inspirational story. In 1965, after a notorious family feud, Robert Mondavi––then 52 years old–– was thrown out of his family's winery. Far from defeated, Mondavi was dedicated to a vision of creating a superior wine. What has happened since that fateful In this autobiography of the founder of the internationally celebrated winery in Napa Valley, Robert Mondavi shares his inspirational story. In 1965, after a notorious family feud, Robert Mondavi––then 52 years old–– was thrown out of his family's winery. Far from defeated, Mondavi was dedicated to a vision of creating a superior wine. What has happened since that fateful day is one of the greatest sucess stories of American business. The Robert Mondavi Winery is respected around the world, and Mondavi is the man who is most responsible for the worldwide recognition of American winemaking, as well as changing America's palate for fine wine and fine food. In Harvests of Joy, Mondavi shares how, through his passion for excellence, he achieved this extraordinary position, one he reached not without pain and sacrifice. With invaluable insider tips on his approach to both winemaking and to running a business, Mondavi's story is "a grand example of the fact that in America you can pretty much be, do, or accomplish whatever you set out to." (Ventura County Star)

30 review for Harvests of Joy: How the Good Life Became Great Business

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Robert Mondavi was the most pivotal person in the rise of the California wine industry, and I was curious to hear the story of how he came to be. However, I was distracted more by his ego and inflated sense of himself. I think a book written by a third-party author would do better justice to his story.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jen Ohlman

    I enjoyed this book a lot - Mondavi’s story is straight-forward and interesting. Yes he can be kind of tone-deaf and sexist but he is a product of his time and isn’t trying to write a how-to business leadership book. He is telling his own story in his own words. Learning about the build up of Napa Valley from nothing, learning more about winemaking and some of the biggest wine alliances today, and hearing about what Mondavi defines as success was enlightening. Take this book for what it is.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karla

    The friend who gave me this book observed that it’s a bit self-serving. I agree. I also agree with her comment that, regardless, it gives an interesting history of the Napa Valley. Mondavi’s drive and vision cannot be overlooked as the force that helped advance the American wine industry. As a wine-lover, I enjoyed this read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Woodsie

    Interesting how it all started and developed. Shows the importance of focus and hard work. However while the success has been so great, the ego seems to have got in the way and had a negative on the families life. Looking back I am sure there are major regrets.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    A quite readable work of self-promotion, from the master of marketing himself. Interesting perspectives on the growth of the wine industry in Napa.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Akibsi

    Interesting. Robert Mondavi's drive is impressive. But his ego overflows what otherwise is a good read. I like the wines better ;) Interesting. Robert Mondavi's drive is impressive. But his ego overflows what otherwise is a good read. I like the wines better ;)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    An easy, enjoyable read. Mr. Mondavi’s ego gets in the way too much. There’s no doubt he made many great contributions to the California (and beyond) wine industry, for which he should be recognized, appreciated, and lauded. But people got trampled in real life, and their stories trampled in this book. This book isn’t about them, though.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Clearly Robert Mondavi can boast one of the greatest American success stories, however his gigantic ego and overuse of exclamation points made this book a real challenge to finish. This book gave some good insight into the California wine industry and background on some famous partnerships with Baron Philippe de Rothschild creating Opus One as well as teaming up with the Frescobaldis. The pages I enjoyed the most came in the last chapter where Bob shared his pearls of wisdom or as he referred to Clearly Robert Mondavi can boast one of the greatest American success stories, however his gigantic ego and overuse of exclamation points made this book a real challenge to finish. This book gave some good insight into the California wine industry and background on some famous partnerships with Baron Philippe de Rothschild creating Opus One as well as teaming up with the Frescobaldis. The pages I enjoyed the most came in the last chapter where Bob shared his pearls of wisdom or as he referred to them - the 15 basic components of his philosophy for success. Those pearls seemed genuine and straight from the heart. If you plan on visiting Napa this book would provide some historical insight prior to your trip otherwise I suggest you skip this book and just drink his wine. I had his 2011 Private Selection Chardonnay just yesterday and it was fabulous.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Yves

    The wine business is one where without passion you can rarely be a success, so the story of Mondavi is to track that passion and the way their Italian roots shaped the work ethic of the entire company. The part when Mondavi purposely broke the mould of the current business to reach for higher qualitative ground is an important lesson. I have seen this many times. The courage to make changes and give up comfortable business in order to do something harder but ultimately better.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Molleson

    Im still in the middle and it's been months. I think it is very interesting to learn the history of the Mondavi Family. What disturbs me in reading is Robert's ego and his belittling of his brother. I think I'll hang onto it and maybe picj it up again at a later time. Im still in the middle and it's been months. I think it is very interesting to learn the history of the Mondavi Family. What disturbs me in reading is Robert's ego and his belittling of his brother. I think I'll hang onto it and maybe picj it up again at a later time.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

    I learned how Robert Mondavi put the Napa Valley on the map in terms of being one of the best wine producing regions in the world. I also learned how relentless hard work led to great successes but also trade-offs when it came to family time and relationships.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Very good review of Robert Mondavi and his family. Discusses the many aspects of wine in the Napa Valley and his influence on the wine industry. Also explains his relationships with some of the age old families in France............

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carolyne Borel

    Interesting life and good read for an insight on the Californian wine business, yet Mondavi keeps repeating once too many about how great his achievements were. Not really inspirational when it comes to being humble...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Interesting story, but tough to get through simply due to the writing style. I felt as if I was reading a 2nd-grade reading level book!

  15. 5 out of 5

    John Hardesty

    Eye opening and very forthright story of Robert Mondavi's life Eye opening and very forthright story of Robert Mondavi's life

  16. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    A must-read for any Napa Valley residents, or anyone in the wine biz. Sometimes the writing is a bit cheesy and clunky, but still, it's a very inspirational book. :) A must-read for any Napa Valley residents, or anyone in the wine biz. Sometimes the writing is a bit cheesy and clunky, but still, it's a very inspirational book. :)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    A fascinating, easy read. He seems to take credit for the entire American wine revolution. I wonder what other Napa Valley wine-makers would say...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christy Eichhols

    Easy to read. This guy is so full of himself would steamroll his own mother (which he did) to get ahead!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I picked up this book while visting the Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley this summer. This really is an interesting read about the evolution of American wine culture.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Daryn Nakhuda

    Robert Mondavi has a very interesting life story, and an amazing impact on the american (and global) wine industry. The lessons learned may be common sense, but the stories told are priceless.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carla Guglielmino

    Interesting insight into the wine business in the Napa region.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Valdon Smith

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  24. 5 out of 5

    André Darlington

  25. 5 out of 5

    Roy Horn

  26. 4 out of 5

    Janis

  27. 4 out of 5

    William E Selby

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ken Smith

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

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