Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review: Margrit Mondavi's Sketchbook

Last spring I had the pleasure of sitting down for lunch with Margrit Mondavi.  She graciously agreed to be interviewed for this blog.  (Please visit the Post here).  During a wonderful lunch at Robert Mondavi winery she shared her experiences in the wine industry.

Recently Margrit published "Margrit Mondavi's Sketchbook" with Janet Fletcher.  It is a beautifully illustrated recollection of her life.  She shares her passion for life, her love of her family and friends, and her interests in art, food and culture. 

The book is a great reflection on her past.  She talks about her childhood and her young married life, being a young Swiss bride married to a U.S. Army Officer.  She also explains her involvement in the Napa cultural scene; bringing art and music to the local schools and hosting concerts at wineries, both at Charles Krug Winery and then the highly successful concert series at Robert Mondavi Winery.  Learning about her upbringing you can understand her culture shock living in different locations as a young bride and young mother.  Getting to know about her life-long love of art and music you can appreciate her involvement in the art programs at the Robert Mondavi Winery and also the many charitable donations she and Robert gave in support of the arts.

Of course no book by Margrit would be complete without Robert, and she gracefully explains her relationship with the love of her life.  It was touching to understand the deep love they had for each other, and also get a glimpse at the strong bond they had.  Hearing about their travels and the way they were completely engaged with each other's lives, hopes and dreams is a wonderful love story.

And if you are learning about Robert and Margrit, there must be talk about good food and wine.  The book details many of the great wine events they were involved with.  The partnerships they made and the dedication they had to the California wine industry was very informative.  I enjoyed learning about the Great Chef's cooking school, which was also a bit amusing.  I also really enjoyed the hand-painted menus that were included in the book.  It would not be a complete memoir of their love of food and wine without a few recipes thrown in. 

Margrit's artwork is included throughout, brightening up the pages.  There are also wonderful reminiscences by her friends and family, painting more detailed pictures of her life and influence.

Margrit is a very joyful person, who surrounds herself with beauty.  She is aging gracefully, still involved in so many endeavors, and savoring every minute of it.  This book is a joyous reflection of her.

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