I must admit when I was invited to lunch at Gotham Bar & Grill with three wine writers I respect and Mr. & Mrs. Marc Mondavi (Janice) I accepted the invitation because it read “Have lunch with the Water Witch” It’s not just natural, it’s supernatural.
Marc Mondavi is the eldest son of Peter and Blanche Mondavi and grandson of Cesare and Rosa Mondavi, the Napa Valley pioneers who purchased the historic Charles Krug winery in 1943. Marc was born in 1954 and raised on the winery property. He held his first official winery position at the Charles Krug winery at age ten.
Growing up on a winery meant summers running through the vineyards, climbing in empty tanks, packing gift boxes, doing odd jobs on the property, and learning the wine business from the bottom up. It wasn’t until he became a teenager and started tasting wines with his father that Marc knew he was destined for the family wine business. It was at this time that Marc also learned of his ability to divine water, a talent he has continued to develop over the last forty years. His success finding water has earned him the endearing title of “water witch.”
Marc studied viticulture and oenology at the University of California, Davis, and marketing at California State University, Sacramento. He did mention to me that he utilizes his divining skills in some interesting party games. He returned to the family business in 1978.
Using just his intuition and a pair of divining rods, Marc can sense underground water sources that are invisible to normal people. It’s a very handy skill in the thirsty vineyards of California. Marc’s divining has created over 100 new water sources for farmers and vineyard owners battling the current drought. He says almost anyone can pick up a pair of divining rods and learn to find some form of water, but to pinpoint the deep, bountiful sources – the ones that can support a well for irrigating farms and vineyards – you’ve got to go with your gut. I borrowed his rods and managed to find the water source for Gotham Bar & Grill’s toilets. Marc founded The Divining Rod wines to honor the ancient art of water divining, and the unique power of your own intuition.
- 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, California- $17.99
- 2013 Divine Red, Lodi, California (54% Zinfandel, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Petite Syrah, 2% Petit Verdot)- $12.99
- 2014 Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands, California- $14.99
- 2014 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon- $18.99
On November 8, 2014, Peter Mondavi Sr. celebrated his 100th birthday. He remains active in the day-to-day operation. His two sons Marc and Peter Jr. are active in all aspects of viticulture, wine making and marketing. God bless Peter Mondavi Sr. I want to be just like him when I reach 100.
About the Author:
Ron Kapon has over 50 years of experience in the wine & spirit field, starting with his first drink (mixed with water) at age three. His family’s business, Acker, Merrall & Condit, was established in 1820 and is the oldest wine merchant in the United States as well as the largest wine auction company in the world.