Juicy gossip galore

Talk about a page turner. I was up half the night
reading the new “House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine
by Julia Flynn Siler. Unlike many Wine Country bios, the book
reads like a novel, jam-packed with juicy tidbits about the powerful Mondavi
family. But while many have assigned malicious intent to the author, my read
(at least so far) is that Siler lays on plenty of kudos to the family for its
pioneering attitude and driven leader, Robert Mondavi, while presenting the
very human foibles that all of us can identify with.

A quick quote from the book: An aging, slightly
out-of-it Robert sits at the 2004 Auction Napa Valley and sees his Mondavi lot go for far less
than its worth-

“(T)he moment was poignant for the onlookers at the
auction that day who understood the drama playing out in the Mondavi empire. A
lot offered by Napa’s most famous
family was bought at a fire sale price by one of their company’s fiercest
rivals from neighboring Sonoma County
(Jess Jackson). Was the bid symbolic of Jackson’s
rising strength in the industry and Mondavi’s fading glory? Was it a kind
gesture aimed at sparing Robert from further humbling? Or was it a
foreshadowing of what was to come “with Jackson
and other potential predators at that very moment eyeing Mondavi’s many
attractive properties.”

book went on sale yesterday, as as of late afternoon, there were still
plenty of copies on sale at the downtown SR Barnes and Noble. Trust me, this is an unauthorized bio you’ll want to read around the pool. Uh, maybe with a nice glass of Mondavi wine?


Plus, two quick morning hits-SEA Thai restaurant of Petaluma will
open its Santa Rosa outpost next
Monday, June 25 in the former East West Café spot in Montgomery
Village. BiteClub expects to be first in line.

BiteClub has confirmed that a popular Wine Country bistro is currently in talks
to acquire the former Mixx restaurant space in Santa Rosa’s
Railroad Square. I first heard about the potential sale while in Aspen, chatting with several SoCo chefs. The spot
was apparently of great interest to top toques because of the area’s
booming scene, but rumor has it that the price was pretty steep. Our fingers
are crossed for this deal to go through. More details to come.