90% of the wine that I buy is owned by neither of "the big two," although I do enjoy Louis M. Martini and Rancho Zabaco (both Gallo).
Robert Mondavi is largely responsible, btw, for turning Napa from a ho hum agricultural valley into a spot for the rich and famous.
At first, I placed them with the jug wines like Almaden, while I scampered about the truly exclusive wineries in Napa. Prager, Joseph Phelps, the stuff that wasn't sold at Safeway..
Foolishly, I only recently became aware of how good his wines truly were.
I was fortunate to have bought the last six bottles of his 2001 Pinot Noir left on my island. At $22.00 a bottle, I hesitated, but now I'm glad I did.
Not sure I share that assessment. IMO, Mondavi just got a little big for the type of product (wine) and became fragmented.
The boutiques will always be there and there is no end in sight.
There were Mondavi projects in Italy (Luce), Chile (Sena' which is spectacular) to name a few and had difficulty managing all the different tiers and price points and still maintain quality.
And of course with new markets (South Africa, Argentina, to name a couple) the competition took it's toll. I know it's hindsight but they would have been better off selling pieces over time for cash and concentrating on their core business.
I've met Tim Mondavi a number of times and the man is a delight to talk to. One day talking to him after a seminar I asked him about how the Chilean Sena' vineyards came about and mentioned I thought it was the best wine from the southern hemisphere. He reached into his pocket and handed me an engraved Sena' stainless corkscrew of a quality I have never seen before. I've used it for eight years and opened over a million $ in pricey wine with it. I like to tell that story to trainees and the younger set, their eyes always light up.
They will be missed.
Only if you buy all of your wines at a supermarket. I have no problem buying wines not owned by these companies. The wines that Robert Mondavi produced were spectacular. I recently had a 1987 Reserve Cab that was still bright and alive and still had another 10 years to reach its peak. When he launched Opus One he created a wine that all other Napa wines were to be measured against. At its best, it was the greatest wine coming out of Napa. Unfortunately, today other wine makers are handling these wines, and it shows. The latest vintages of the Reserve Cab and Opus One are watery insipid wines, and sully the reputation of the man who put California on the world wine making map.