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The Los Angeles Times reports this morning that Robert Mondavi Corp. has put the company’s landmark winery and its high-end wine brands, including its stake in the Opus One in France and Ornellaia in Tuscany, Italy.

The company plans to retain its low-end properties, including the Woodbridge brand, that account for more than three-quarters of company revenue.

According to the LAT, “The winery and its more than 1,500 acres of prime vineyard could be worth upward of $400 million.”

In a memo to employees, CEO Greg Evans said that the pressures of running a public company led to the decision, and that the high end properties would be better off in the hands of a private company.

There is some speculation that the Mondavi family might try and regain control of the winery and high-end brands. Just last month, the company announced that the family’s voting control had been reduced from 85 percent to 40 percent.
KC's View:
The Mondavi family revolutionized the American wine business, and for that deserves the gratitude of every wine drinker.

It’s a shame that the pressures of running a public company somehow are inconsistent with having a broad, multi-tiered and sophisticated approach to marketing.