The Robert Mondavi Winery announces a new Director of Winemaking and will soon release their iconic wine from their newly certified organic vineyard. According to the company, Kurtis Ogasawara has been promoted to a key role in the Winemaking team, and the famous To Kalon Vineyard has received organic certification from the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF).
Ogasawara has been working for the Californian pioneer since 2015, initially as an Assistant Winemaker and since 2018 as a Winemaker. He stumbled upon the wine industry by chance while studying mechanical engineering, taking an elective course called "Introduction to Winemaking" out of curiosity. He switched majors and completed his studies in viticulture and enology at UC Davis. He then worked for various wineries in the Napa Valley and remained loyal to the region when he joined the Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville in 2015.
He now leads the winemaking team under Chief Winemaker Geneviève Janssens. "The history of the winery is breathtaking, and it is an incredible opportunity for me to work with Geneviève and learn from her," says Ogasawara.
The Bigger Picture
The renowned To Kalon Vineyard has been under organic management for the past three years, primarily by Constellation Brands' wineries, which include Schrader Cellars, To Kalon Vineyard Company, Double Diamond, and Robert Mondavi Winery. Now, the CCOF, established in 1973 as the first organic certification agency in the US, has certified the entire vineyard site. As a result, the iconic To Kalon wines from Robert Mondavi and other producers can bear an organic label starting with the 2023 vintage. As part of its sustainability strategy, Constellation Brands aims to pursue further organic certifications.