Robert first saw the Napa Valley in 1960 during the summer of his second year at Columbia Law and Business Schools when he came to the Valley to join migrant farm workers picking cherries. It was a powerful experience and he knew that someday he would return.
Beginning in 1965, as an attorney with the Belli law firm in San Francisco, Robert became involved in litigation involving large tracts of land on the western side of the Napa Valley. As early as 1966, Robert was an attorney for the sale of the 12 acres that created the Robert Mondavi Winery.
In the 1970's, Robert learned the business hands on while operating a small vineyard in Sonoma where he and his family farmed, from the disking, pruning and picking of grapes to wine making.
Later, he began to acquire property in the Oakville area of Napa, including, what is today, the Far Niente Winery. He was one of the two original founders of the winery. Robert was the Managing Partner of the Far Niente Vineyard, and later became a founding partner of the Vichon Winery in Oakville where he planted and was responsible for the vineyard.
While traveling with Andre Tchelistcheff through the great wine regions of Europe he grew increasingly convinced that, as Tcheleistcheff would often say, "terroir" is the most important element necessary in making a great Cabernet. Robert knew that the terroir of Rutherford was ideal and he knew he would find suitable vineyard property along the Rutherford bench.
In 1997 Robert found our 22 acres of steeply wooded land above Rutherford Hill Road, across from the famed Auberge du Soleil. Robert walked every foot of the property, laying out the vineyards, home, pool and guesthouse.