Wine in China: The three representative grape varieties of Mondavi are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, what are their respective performance in wines？
Mark de Vere: Mondavi Winery started to make wines with Sauvignon Blanc in the 60s, but then in America it was mostly made for cheap sweet wines, so we label the good-quality dry wines from Sauvignon Blanc as “Fume Blanc”. Fume Blanc is very smooth, elegant and firm, with intense fruity aromas and long aftertaste. Chardonnay has a richer fruity perfume with tropical fruit, full-bodied in both mouthfeel and structure, the maturation in oak barrels has enhanced the complexity of aromas and the aging ability of the wine, also, Chardonnay is a good interpretation of the climate of Napa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is very full-boided, with concentrated aromas, since this variety has extremely good adaptability, we have included this variety in each of our series of products, its tannin and strong structure are impressive.
Wine in China: Would you please tell us your opinions about how to balance tradition and innovation in winemaking?
Mark de Vere: Mr. Rober Mondavi has done a lot of innovative work in winemaking. From the 60s, there has been multiple innovative moves, for example, new techniques in maceration and winemaking, etc., which has established the new method for modern winemaking in California. 10 years ago, we built a new cellar to store the top Cabernet Sauvignon wines. We used a lot of big oak barrels and fermentation tanks with the biggest one holding 15 tons, which can impart more aromas and flavors to the wine, and make the wine rounder. The aim of Rober Mondavi is to make wines with fuller body, more intense aromas, and softer mouthfeel. All our innovations serve to better realize this aim.
Wine in China: As one of the few masters of wines around the world, your jobs are more than making wines, how do you arrange your daily work?
Mark de Vere: Except for the time during harvest and winemaking, most of my work is done in the cellar. I also have traveled a lot, and tried wines from a lot of places. Besides, I am also a trainer in a wine institute, giving lessons to our staff and sales. This is a varied job, and I enjoy it very much.