Founded: 1979 Ownership: Robert Mondavi
& Baroness Philippine de Rothschild Winemakers: Patrick Léon &
1970 Robert Mondavi and Baron
Philippe de Rothschild meet for the first time in Hawaii. Baron Philippe proposes
a joint venture.
1978 Baron Philippe invites Robert Mondavi to Bordeaux.
Within an hour, they put together the framework of their plan.
1979 Mouton-Rothschild winemaker Lucien Sionneau
and Timothy Mondavi make the partnership's first vintage at the Robert Mondavi
1980 The partners officially announce their joint
1981 Robert Mondavi sells Q block (35 acres), part
of his famous To-Kalon Vineyard, to the joint venture for its first estate vineyard.
A single case of the joint venture wine sells for $24,000 at the first
Napa Valley Wine Auction- the highest price ever paid for a California wine. 1982 Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild
begin label design.
1983 A 50-acre ranch, the "River Parcel," is purchased
for the joint venture winery and additional estate plantings. The property is
in Oakville, east of Highway 29.
For the joint venture, the partners agree to choose a name of Latin origin, allowing
for easy recognition in both languages. Baron Philippe announces his choice, "Opus,"
a musical term analogous to the first work of a composer. Two days later he proposes
an additional word: "Opus One. "
1984 The 1979 and 1980 vintages are simultaneously
unveiled as Opus One's first release.
Baron Philippe and Robert Mondavi select Scott Johnson of Johnson, Fain & Pereira
as design architect for the Opus One winery.
Opus One acquires the 49-acre Ballestra vineyard, adjacent to the River parcel
and extending south to the Oakville Crossroad.
1985 Following Lucien Sionneau's retirement, Patrick Léon joins Château
Mouton-Rothschild as winemaker.
Timothy Mondavi and Patrick become the new Opus One co-winemaking team.
1985-1987 Sales average around 11,000 cases per year. Opus One becomes
known as America's first ultra-premium wine, establishing a category of wine priced
by the bottle at $50 and above.
1988 In January, Baron Philippe de Rothschild dies in France at the
age of 86.
Baroness Philippine de Rothschild takes over the family wine business.
Opus One exports a share of its 1985 vintage; the first ultra-premium California
wine to be sold in France, England, Germany and Switzerland.
1989 Ground breaking for the new Opus One Winery takes place in July.
1991 Construction of the Winery is completed. Baroness Philippine de
Rothschild and the Robert Mondavi family gather to celebrate their first harvest
at Opus One.
1995 At auction, the price of a 750 ml. bottle of 1979 Opus One reaches
1998 Opus One is sold in more than 65 world markets.
1999 Holding gala events wordwide, Opus One celebrates its 20th Anniversary,
1979 to 1999.
Opus One Winery / 7900 Saint Helena Hwy. / Oakville, CA 94562 / 707-944-9442