One of the Best Fest….

One of the best food and wine events is happening in Charleston, SC., March 6-10, Charleston Wine + Food, and Napa’s own Robert Mondavi Jr. of Michael Mondavi Family Estate is going to be featured in three events:

“The Bottles” Tent Tasting on March 8.

Next a decadent, multi-course wine lunch at Burwell’s Stonefire Grill on March 9 will offer up a modern take on the traditional steakhouse experience. Chef Raymond Dial will prepare a menu inspired by coastal flavors and hearty ingredients, with Rob Jr. pairing the wines.

And later that night Rob Jr. is going glamping, as he will be one of the hosts at one of the glamping camp sites that will combine picturesque views of Charleston low country with fine wines and chefs around a cozy fire. Sounds like fun. The Insider caught up with Rob Jr. before he left and he was happy to do the NSI quiz.

What was last night’s dinner? We spent the evening enjoying time with friends at Kitchen Door at Oxbow Market, where we shared Pho and Duck Bahn Mi paired with a Grüner Veltliner.

Favorite drink? Wine, without a doubt. First and foremost, my favorite glass is always Napa Valley Cabernet, more specifically M by Michael Mondavi 2015. When I enjoy a cocktail, I reach for a simple Pappy Van Winkle with a square chunk of pristine ice.

Favorite dining spot in Napa? I’ve yet to find a restaurant in Napa that is not exceptional. One of my top picks is Mustard’s, as I think Cindy Pawlcyn and Sean Knight have truly captured the essence of Napa Valley. Yountville’s Ad Hoc and Bistro Don Giovanni are thriving Napa Valley icons, as are Taqueria Rosita and Squeeze Inn Hamburgers for family-dining fun.

Favorite music? My favorites are Chris Pierce, the modern day Otis Redding, and Jen Nettles, voice of and heart of Sugarland, who are cherished friends and nothing is better than seeing them live – especially when it’s on our porch. They are warm, soulful people and remarkable musicians.

Favorite thing about living and working in Napa? Outside of the amazing people, the extraordinary wine flows through my blood. Napa’s time-honored community cares about each other and it’s a place where winemakers rightly encourage and support one another to succeed.

Any brush with celebrity? Napa Valley attracts a number of star personalities and a few of my favorites have been Robin Williams, who lived in Napa for a time, and actress Jane Seymour who was incredibly charming and graceful. We collaborate with Japanese music star Yoshiki and it’s always a riot when he comes to visit, Growing up, my favorite friend of the family was Julia Child, a lovely and charismatic woman who inspired me as a young teen to appreciate the art of cooking.

What makes a great winery? Exceptional wine can come from anywhere, whether it be a modest winery or a stunning estate. Yet, it is the vineyards and the soul of the winemaker that creates a truly great wine.

Final thoughts? I admire this quote from my late grandfather, “Don’t let making good wine, get in the way of making great wine.” I always strive to put the extra effort in, so that every step is exceptionally done. It’s a wonderful philosophy to apply to family, friends, and life.