Robert Mondavi Winery plans to shift tastings to Napa during Oakville renovations

Robert Mondavi Winery plans to shift its visitor experience this summer temporarily to downtown Napa.

The vintner has leased the historic Borreo Building at 930 Third St. at Soscol Avenue for at least the next three years and plans to be open there for tasting in early summer, according to the winery and the building owners. The mid-Napa Valley estate in Oakville will be closed to the public as the facility’s hospitality elements are renovated.

“We plan to continue accepting guest reservations at our Highway 29 winery property through the spring…,” wrote Elizabeth Caravati, communications for wine and spirits at Constellation Brands, in an email Tuesday. Constellation has owned Mondavi since 2001.

Caravati said more details on the Oakville renovations and Napa tasting facility would be provided later.

The prospect of Mondavi opening for wine tasting in the valley’s largest city is a tantalizing latest chapter in its transformation into a cultural destination, according to Craig Smith, head of Napa Downtown Association.

“Mondavi has had a major impact on how the valley works together and views wine,” Smith said. “Mondavi is a big draw. That name means Napa Valley, especially for those who have been coming in recent years.”

Downtown Napa currently has around 40 wine tasting facilities, operated by one winery, a collective of vintners or a retail operation, according to Smith.

The 9,500-square-foot Borreo Building is named after the family who originally built the stone structure in 1887, making it the second oldest commercial building in Napa.

In 2018, the building was overhauled to shore it up after the devastating 2014 Napa earthquake and to prepare the two-story structure for restaurant uses as another brewpub location for Stone Brewing Co.

But the building has been vacant for the last 14 months since the Southern California-based brewery moved out amid a dispute over rent payments during the time when the pub was closed because of pandemic public health orders.

That legal action is still ongoing, according to Kevin Teague, part of the West Pueblo Partners ownership of the building.

Locals have talked about the parking challenges at the Borreo building for years. But Smith noted the city’s conversion of a property less than a block away into free parking, which would help while Mondavi is in the space.

In an interesting turn of history, the Mondavi name would return to downtown Napa — if only for a while — just over two decades from when the late Robert and Margrit Mondavi’s Copia wine and arts center opened a few blocks northeast.

Following ownership changes after the wine center closed in 2008, that nearly 79,000-square-foot facility is now The Culinary Institute of America at Copia, a business-focused campus for the elite culinary education institution.

While the hospitality center at Mondavi’s Oakville winery is about to get an overhaul, the vintner has been working for the past three years to make sure the viticultural practices at its estate, To Kalon Vineyard, align with organic-certification requirements. On Tuesday, the winery announced it had achieved that recognition for the property, which has 435 planted acres.

Jeff Quackenbush covers wine, construction and real estate. Before coming to the Business Journal in 1999, he wrote for Bay City News Service in San Francisco. Reach him at or 707-521-4256.

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