Opus One and Dominus

Two marriages and one matchmaker

This auction features wine from two successful Franco-American collaborations out of a desire to make Bordeaux-style wine in Napa.

Napa Valley is an area with a great diversity of micro-climates and has many instances of very different soil types, making it a great area for winemaking. In 1981 it achieved a status comparable to that of an AOC.
The oldest collaboration is that of Opus One between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild and the more recent one is between Bordeaux négociant JP Moueix and Dominus Estate.
Both collaborations were very imaginative at the time and the danger with such plans is that their shine fades in practice and over time. However, this is certainly not the case in both instances and the ambition is still there….and so is the adoration from the international wine press.

Dominus Estate

Dominus Estate is the name that first appeared on a wine label in 1983. The name symbolises a new style of winemaking from a new team on one of the oldest wine estates in the US (42 hectares).
Christian Moueix (haling from France) is the oenologist and also the responsible driving force behind the new team. He joined the company in 1982 at the invitation of the heirs of the estate in Napa, with support from the enthusiastic Robert Mondavi to take on this new adventure. The potential for this new endeavour was great and someone had to realise it.
Christian was the ideal candidate to fulfil this role, his family owns a large Bordeaux négociant, JP Moueix. In the 1980s, as director and oenologist he was responsible for top Bordeaux such as Petrus, Château Trotanoy and Château La Fleur -Pétrus.
Thanks to the influence of Moueix, the newborn wine is immediately in the international spotlight. Over the years Dominus has developed into a prominent and beloved wine.
In 1991, Christian became CEO of the négociant and in 1995 he bought all the shares of Dominus Estate, making him the sole owner. Nowadays, son Edouard is also active in the family business.
Since 2021 Dominus Estate has been certified organic.

Opus One Winery

Opus one (69 hectares) was founded by Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild. It has long been a 50-50 partnership between two of the largest wine estates in Napa and Bordeaux. The team wants to make a Bordeaux-style wine using Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It was then 1976 and the first vintage was 1979 (released in 1984), called Napamedoc. It was not until the 1982 vintage that the name Opus One graced the label.
Until the Opus One winery is built, the wine is produced at Robert’s own winery and the grapes come from the To Kalon (meaning the beautiful in Greek) vineyard.
Robert is a man of great prestige in Californian viticulture. He ensures technical improvements in grape cultivation- such as the classification of new world wines - and his commercial spirit puts the wines from Napa Valley on the map.
The collaboration can be called a real success, and Opus One acquires great prestige in the wine market.
The 50-50 joint venture still exists, even though Robert Mondavi’s share was acquired by Constellation Brands in 2004. Mondavi himself was in his nineties at this time. Philippe died in 1988, but the story of the two men made such an impression that people still write about it as if it happened yesterday.

At the auction

Nowadays we can continue to raise our glasses with confidence to such a beautiful history, fantastic wine is made every year at both domains. This time at the auction:
  • Lot 4620 consisting of 6 bottles of Opus One 2015 in OWC.
  • Lot 4621 consisting of 6 bottles of Opus One 2016 in OWC.
  • Lot 4641 consisting  of a very rare magnum of 2002 Dominus Estate 



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