Vino in Virginia
Wine is an ancient and hallowed drink. Ancient texts, including the Bible, mention wine, and the gods of Olympus were known to quaff a few drafts of nectar. They even had a wine deity, Bacchus. Wine also plays a big part in the history of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson became a great fan of grape pressings after visiting France as a delegate; he attempted to produce his own wine out at the little mountain.
Unfortunately, Jefferson was never able to see the fruits of his labor and vision as produced by Monticello’s Gabrielle Rausse. With the long history of fermented grapes, it is little surprise that UVA would decide to cover wine in a symposium, but it is interesting that it is the McIntire School of Commerce, which is offering a one-day symposium on Creativity and Innovation in Mature Industries, that is covering the wine industry.
Robert Mondavi has said, "Making good wine is a skill, fine wine an art." While it is uncommon but certainly exciting that the School of Commerce is covering the wine industry, it is even more thrilling to note the wine experts whom the symposium has gathered. Foremost among them is Mondavi himself, one of the first innovators in fine American wine, who will explain “How the Good Life Became a Great Business: Perspectives on Creativity, Innovation, Corporate Success and Life.”
Mondavi has been growing grapes and producing wine in California since 1966. Chances are, if you have drunk American wine more than once, you have sampled a Mondavi vintage. Mondavi has expanded his winery empire to Europe and South America and has won awards from environmental companies for his commitment to protecting the natural sources that supply him his fruit.
Other prestigious speakers and panel members include Michael Etzell, co-owner of the popular Oregon winery, Beaux Freres, John Gay, president and CEO of Southcorp Wines, and Paul Lukacs, a wine columnist and author of American Vintage: The Rise of American Wine.
As reported in The Hook last week, the battle over importation of non-Virginia wines has grown heated recently here in the Piedmont. However, Virginia is becoming a player of its own on the national wine scene. The Commonwealth is currently fifth amongst vinifera-growing states, producing over 4,000 tons of wine each year, which generate more than $38 million in profit. For these reasons alone, wine is an excellent choice for a UVA Symposium, so get on out there and whet your whistle on April 26.
UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce presents a symposium “Creativity and Innovation in Mature Industries.” Robert Mondavi presents the keynote address at 1:15pm in the Old Cabell Hall Auditorium on April 26. A panel discussion with Paul Lukacs, moderated by Patricia Kluge, follows, and a conversation with John Gay. Audience questions are encouraged. George A. Overstreet Jr. makes a special presentation and adjourns the symposium at 3:15. The symposium is free and open to the public. 924-7005