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Mondavi and Rosemount in joint venture

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis

Rosemount Estates and Robert Mondavi are forming a joint venture company to make and market new jointly-branded wines aimed at the "super-premium and luxury" sectors. The announcement ends months of speculation during which Mondavi president and chief executive officer, Michael Mondavi, announced publicly that the company was looking for a partner or a possible acquisition. Rosemount's will be a Shiraz which will be made from the 2001 vintage and should be available late 2002/early 2003. Mondavi's will come from the 2000 vintage but has yet to be finalised, however a Shiraz-based blend is believed to be favoured. All the wines will be made under the joint direction of winemakers, Tim Mondavi and Rosemount's Philip Shaw. At the time of going to press, both were in California assessing the vintage. Mondavi will sell the joint venture's Australian wines worldwide, while Rosemount will sell the JV's Californian wines. The two are also committed to exploring "other possible synergies in winemaking, viticulture, purchasing, marketing and research and development". Bob Oatley, Rosemount's founder, said: "For Rosemount, this venture with the Robert Mondavi family is a logical and natural alliance and offers us a unique opportunity to expand globally while still preserving our autonomy." Mondavi said: "This venture allows us to expand our luxury wine portfolio with a world-class Shiraz while also participating in the exciting growth of the Australian super -premium wine segment." Asked what this joint venture might lead to, a Mondavi spokeswoman said that it had "no further implications". Peter Darbyshire, Rosemount's managing director for UK and Europe, told Harpers: "Shiraz is the obvious place to start for Australia as its our flagship varietal. "It is in the hands of the pooled talents of Philip Shaw and Tim Mondavi. Whatever they produce will be stunning." Darbyshire said that the luxury wines will be aimed at the same level as Opus One, Luce and Lucente, the products of Mondavi's joint ventures with Mouton Rothschild and Marchesi de' Frescobaldi. He said that with all the consolidation occurring, it was logical that family-owned and family-controlled companies such as Mondavi and Rosemount should come together.