Robert Mondavi Winery Hires New Director of Winemaking

Robert Mondavi Winery has appointed Sally Johnson Blum as Director of Winemaking.

Johnson Blum, who spent the previous 15 years crafting acclaimed wines for Pride Mountain Vineyards, brings global winemaking experience and a passion for stewardship and innovation to Robert Mondavi Winery.

Johnson Blum joins Kurtis Ogasawara, Senior Winemaker, and Lauren Oliver, Winemaker, on the Robert Mondavi Winery winemaking team. She will also work closely with the Robert Mondavi Winery Technical Council, a group of acclaimed winemakers—including Chief Winemaker Geneviève Janssens, Thomas Rivers Brown and Andy Erickson—who provide strategic guidance on winemaking, viticulture and other brand aspects.

“We were drawn to Sally’s reputation as an inclusive leader and her winemaking philosophy of crafting wines that reflect both the place and moment in time they were created,” said Lauren Larrabee, Vice President and General Manager of Fine Wine at Constellation Brands. “As we continue our commitment to elevating quality from farm to bottle craftsmanship, we look forward to seeing Sally’s impact.”

Recent moves by Robert Mondavi Winery include Kalon Vineyard working toward becoming certified organic with the 2023 vintage and the creation of luxury consumer experiences such as Tastemade’s Dinner in the Vines this past May, and the creation of wine goblets with French luxury porcelain house Bernardaud, available this fall.

“Sally’s unparalleled experience in winemaking speaks for itself,” noted Geneviève Janssens, Chief Winemaker for Robert Mondavi Winery. “Her respect for Robert Mondavi’s pioneering spirit and dedication to California fine wines make her the perfect addition to our team as we pursue our vision to create wines of longevity, rooted in a distinct sense of place.”

After entering the world of wine by way of studying biotech in college, Johnson Blum studied abroad in France where she began her formal education in wine, and then went on to earn her master’s degree in enology from The University of California, Davis. She started her career at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, working a harvest at St. Hallett Winery in the Barossa Valley and producing her own wine label, Lalys Cellars, during the eight years she spent at St. Francis. In 2007, she began her 15-year tenure at Pride Mountain Vineyards as only the second winemaker in the estate’s history, where she earned two Robert Parker 100-point scores and her wines were routinely ranked in Wine Spectator‘s Top 100 wine list. She currently resides in Santa Rosa, California with her husband and two children.

Of her decision to join the Robert Mondavi Winery team, Johnson Blum said, “Robert Mondavi Winery and To Kalon Vineyard are synonymous with Napa Valley and comprise one of the world’s most iconic wine estates. I am thrilled at the opportunity to contribute to this incredible legacy and am honored to be a part of this inspiring team of winemakers and viticulturalists.”

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The Soul of Napa Valley Fine Wine. Robert Mondavi established his namesake winery in 1966 with the vision of creating a collection of wines from California’s Napa Valley that could compete with the world’s finest. Through tireless innovation, an uncompromising eye for quality, and boundless enthusiasm, he made believers out of wine lovers everywhere. His wines, and the winemaking team that continues to be inspired by him, strive for ever-finer quality, vintage after vintage.

Located next to Highway 29, in the heart of Napa Valley, Robert Mondavi Winery invites guests to dream, create, share and celebrate in Mr. Mondavi’s pioneering spirit. Visitors enjoy luxury wines of the finest quality in the context of a world-class hospitality experience that includes superior customer service, elevated culinary experiences, and a celebration of the arts. At the heart of the winery is To Kalon® Vineyard, a 440-acre parcel of exceptional provenance that contributes to the winery’s Napa Valley, Estate and Reserve wine programs. Located in Oakville, California, it has been named the Best Vineyard in North America and is renowned for producing some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc in the world.

The brand is undergoing an historic transformation to elevate itself to once again be the defining luxury wine leader in the Napa Valley. The transformation encompasses every aspect of the brand and its home, from sustainable farming and viticulture to farm-to-bottle craftsmanship, to the creation of compelling luxury consumer experiences, to a multi-year renovation of its Napa Valley winery and visitor center.

To learn more about Robert Mondavi Winery, visit or follow the winery on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @robertmondavi.

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