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In an interview with the St. Helena Star the new CEO of the Robert Mondavi Winery, Jon Moramarco, speaks to the ways in which the company will function now that it has been swallowed up by the $3.5 billion Constellation Brands. "If we screw up, it'll be very clear that we screwed up,” he tells the paper.

Ultimately, he says, part of the goal is to prove to founder Robert Mondavi that “his legacy is in good hands.” But more importantly, Moramarco says, is to protect the brand’s image despite it being owned by a conglomerate.

"The Robert Mondavi Winery has gone through its ups and downs, so our biggest challenge is: How to we protect the image that has been built and enhance it over time?" Moramarco says, "Our perception is it stands for a lot of things both within the industry and within Napa Valley.

"Bob and the corporation have been very giving to the community and I think if we just walked away from that -- which a big corporation could do -- it would be the insensitive thing to do. It's not what the winery stands for."

But, "We're also in the fine wine business and how are we going to continue to enhance the wines that the Robert Mondavi Winery is making?"

The 10-year goal is to increase production from 300,000 barrels a year to 500,000, and double the company’s revenue.
KC's View:
Still, it remains a challenge whenever a small, revered brand is taken over a big company – there are matters of culture and priorities that must be addressed.

Moramarco sounds like he has a handle on things – preserving the elements of Mondavi that work, like the connection to the community and its influence on local food and culture, while working to improve the brand’s profitability and distribution.

While the elder Mondavi reportedly does spend time at the winery he started, there also are reports that he is flirting with a small venture with his brother, and that son Michael Mondavi is starting up his own business. (Guess they must not have non-compete contracts…)

We tend to root for the little guy. It’s our nature, especially having worked for small operations that got involved with bigger companies or investors that didn’t have a clue about what our differential advantages were. That’s life, we suppose…