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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jack Hibberd

Californian wine giant Robert Mondavi has sold its share of the Chilean joint venture Caliterra to its partner in the winery, Via Errzuriz. Under the terms of the agreement Robert Mondavi will maintain a 50% share of the two luxury' brands, Sea and Arboleda, but will sell its interest in the mass-market Caliterra brand. President of Via Errzuriz, Eduardo Chadwick, told Harpers that despite now having total control of the winery, he was keen for it to maintain its own personality'. There are no plans to bring it under the Errzuriz brand,' he said. It has its own winemaker now and we are keen for it to stay separate, with a distinct Colchagua Valley identity.' Mondavi said the main reason it was selling its interest in the company was a financial one'. Gregory M Evans, CEO of Robert Mondavi, commented: This sale allows us to continue to participate in the Chilean category while reducing our asset base, thereby improving financial returns.' January 2004 has proved to be a busy month for Mondavi. At board level, Robert Mondavi retired from his position on the board and his son, Michael, stepped down from his position as chairman. Mondavi's high-profile joint-venture with Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Opus One, has also seen changes with David Pearson taking over as CEO and Michael Silacci as winemaker. The winemaking responsibilities were previously shared between Mondavi's chief winemaker Tim Mondavi and Patrick Len, winemaker for Chtea Mouton-Rothschild.