Robert Mondavi, the pioneering winemaker that put Northern California on the same par with Western Europe, died peacefully at his home in Yountville today. An enthusiastic proponent of the health benefits of moderate consumption of wine, he championed the use of cold fermentation, stainless steel tanks and French oak barrels. He also introduced blind tastings in Napa Valley and his winery was amongst the first to go public. Sometimes overshadowed by the familial turmoil that has become a dramatic California wine country legend, his winery produced consistently amazing vintages year after year, making his one of the most widely recognized and respected names in California viticulture. Raise a glass.