Haute Secrets: Alycia Mondavi Shares Her Guide To The Napa Valley

Alycia Mondavi
Alycia Mondavi

It is no exaggeration to say Alycia Mondavi and her three sisters were introduced to the wine industry at birth: they were born into one of Napa Valley’s prominent wine families that has owned and operated C. Mondavi & Family since 1943. Just like her father and her sisters, Mondavi received her first paycheck at age 10, working for $0.25 an hour as an apprentice doing odd jobs at the winery, from the laboratory to the hospitality center. In 2007, she graduated from the University of San Diego with business degrees in Marketing and Management and in 2008 she earned her paralegal certificate. For four years following her graduation, Mondavi worked as a paralegal in a Napa Valley law firm and also as an assistant marketing consultant for numerous ultra-premium wines. Her experiences as a paralegal combined with life lessons in the wine business enabled her to study various avenues in the wine industry, including but not limited to, launching new wine brands, wine labeling and advertising laws, and grape contracts. In 2012, she joined her sister Riana as a fourth generation family member working for C. Mondavi & Family managing the family’s high-end brand Aloft, a Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon made by Thomas Brown. In addition to her full-time job with her family, she focuses on the joint-venture, Dark Matter Wines, with her three sisters. With the help and brainstorming of her sisters, Mondavi oversees the marketing and customer relations for Dark Matter Wines for both the Zinfandel and the Limitless Cabernet Sauvignon.

Giovanna, Riana, Alycia and Angelina Mondavi
Giovanna, Riana, Alycia and Angelina Mondavi

Where were you born: St. Helena, the heart of Napa Valley

How long in Napa: Born and raised, minus the six years I lived in San Diego.

Neighborhood: Charles Krug Winery, Peter Mondavi Sr. Family Estate. I grew up on the family property living a stone throw away from my grandparents.

Occupation: General Manager for Aloft Wine, Assistant Marketing Consultant to Kathy Simpson of Cognoscente Fine Wine Marketing, and co-proprietor of Dark Matter Wines. I wear a lot of hats!

Favorite Restaurant: I am a sucker for what’s new in the valley and Harvest Table takes the top of my list – St. Helena

Best Sushi: Morimoto – Napa

Best Italian: It is a family tradition part of so many memories, Don Giovanni – Napa

Best dessert: I have two and it truly depends on my mood that day. The Oreo Espresso Cookies at Rutherford Grill and the Deep Fried Oreos at Sushi Mambo.

Best place for a romantic date: Torc – Napa

Best Sunday brunch: My favorite brunch spot is Meadowood because of the food and amazing brunch cocktails – St. Helena

Best place for a power business meeting: The Oxbow provides enough space with plenty of food and after meeting shopping under one roof – Napa

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? I would send my favorite guests to Auberge du Soleil – Rutherford

Favorite shopping venue/boutique: Cake Plate and Pearl have best women clothing in the Valley – Napa

Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches: Palladium – St. Helena

Best Spa: Solage – Calistoga

Favorite Charity Event: One of the most fun weeks in the valley revolves around Auction Napa Valley. It is truly an amazing event dedicated to raising money for our local charities. ANV is also a blast to participate in and attend. – Napa Valley

Favorite Cultural Event: Napa Valley Film Festival each year features over 125 new independent films and brings together the film, the culinary and the wine industry.
Favorite Cultural Institution: The Big Five, although only four exist today. These are the five wineries that relaunched the wine industry in Napa Valley after prohibition. They each are packed with history and stories that are the foundation of our wine industry. These wineries include Charles Krug Winery, Christian Brothers (no longer in existence), Beringer, Inglenook and Louis Martini.

Best Steakhouse: Fortunately I do not have to go very far for a good steak. My whole family cooks a mean steak! BUT if you are out and about Napa Valley, I would recommend Press. – St. Helena

Best Pizza: Ciccio in Yountville is to die for.

Best Lunch: Cook St. Helena is always a must.

Best Gym/Athletic Facility: I am a member at Health Spa Napa Valley, a quaint and relaxing gym, however I make a point of riding my horse four to five days a week when I am home. Riding horses is a great workout and very therapeutic.

Best Massage: Teresa at A Healing Place in Calistoga

Best Limousine/Driving Service: Eclectic Tour is a small family owned and operated driving service that provides intimate wine tours and tastings customized to each group.

Best Museum/Exhibit: Napa Valley Museum

Describe your city in three words: The three words that best describes St. Helena are quaint, intimate, and relaxing.

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: Schramsberg is one of my favorite historical places to visit. I thoroughly enjoy my bubblies, and Schramsberg produces some of my favorite sparkling wines. It also provides an informational historic tour.

All-around favorite spot in the Napa Valley: My favorite spot to visit as frequently as possible is Valley Brook Equestrian Center. I board and train my horse there.

Best Aspect of the Napa Valley: Napa Valley is a beautiful wine region that has remained a small community.

Janice Mondavi and her daughter Alycia Mondavi
Janice Mondavi and her daughter Alycia Mondavi