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Robert Mondavi's "Harvests of Joy"
Robert Mondavi’s
“Harvests of Joy”

Happy New Year! I am happy to say that I spent the last week relaxing in Mexico. During this wonderful week, I drank just about anything but wine. To make up for missing my favorite adult beverage, I read Robert Mondavi’s Harvests of Joy. And I have to say — what a fantastic read!

I thoroughly loved the book, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s great for wine lovers. It’s great for entrepreneurs. It’s great for people who need a little inspiration. And it’s great for people who like history. Robert Mondavi was truly a one of a kind.

His language is poetic. I had to hold myself back from dog earing page after page filled with beautiful words. Here are two of my favorite lines:

  • “Wine to me is passion. It’s family and friends. It’s warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It’s culture. It’s the essence of civilization and the art of living.”
  • “Wine in moderation is an integral part of our culture, heritage and gracious way of life.”

Because I’m a Silicon Valley person, one thought kept crossing my mind as I read the book: Mondavi was the wine world’s Steve Jobs. Both men were:

  • Brilliant
  • Singularly obsessed with excellence
  • Confident enough to break all rules
  • Able to propel their industries to amazing heights
  • Much loved and much feared
  • Charismatic enough to be forgiven for their many foibles.

I’m so happy for Mondavi that he was able to live long enough to understand that his singular obsession to be THE BEST had both a good side and a bad side. In his book, Mondavi is very candid about the downsides of his perfectionistic obsessiveness.

Perhaps Steve Jobs got some of that insight from his illness. But I have a feeling that for geniuses like Jobs and Mondavi such wisdom comes from the longevity that Jobs sadly didn’t have.

To both Mondavi and Jobs, I say THANK YOU in big capital letters. I’m thrilled that neither man was a part of my personal life, because they would have made me crawl into a hole faster than you can say Macintosh or Cabernet.

But as I’m composing this on my MacBook Pro, while periodically getting calls on my iPhone, I need to thank Steve Jobs for his amazing and singular contributions to the computer industry. I’m having fun on my MacBook Pro. How cool is that. And as I drank a beautiful glass of California Cabernet with dinner tonight, I need to thank Robert Mondavi for his likewise amazing and singular contributions to the California wine industry.

Walter Isaacson's"Steve Jobs"
Walter Isaacson’s
“Steve Jobs”

After loving Mondavi’s Harvests of Joy, I can’t wait to read Walter Isaacs’s book on Steve Jobs.

I’d love to know what you thought of the two books and what you think of my putting the two men into the same camp. I’d also love to hear your thoughts on the need to be singularly obsessive to accomplish big goals.

Cheers to a WINEderful 2013!

As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!

Cheers, Betty Kaufman
WineShop At Home

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  1. Love the article. Cant wait to get my hands on both the books. As it is mid summer in South Africa, I will enjoy the books with a few glasses of chilled Sauvignon Blanc.

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