History

F
ounded: 1979
Ownership: Robert Mondavi & Baroness Philippine de Rothschild
Winemakers: Patrick Léon & Timothy Mondavi

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 Winery.

1980 The partners officially announce their joint venture.

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 $250.

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



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