Like many Napa wineries, the history of Opus One is short, but it packs a punch, born of two legendary winemaking families: Mondavi and Mouton Rothschild. Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe Rothschild became friends in 1970, and combined their winemaking nous in 1979 to create a vintage that was an instant hit with wine lovers on both sides of the Atlantic. Released in 1984, it was the most expensive Californian wine of the time. Its immediate success showed the founders their partnership had legs, and in the same year more acres were added to the Opus One venture, and design began on their architecturally-progressive winery.
The brand quickly established itself as a leading Californian label, both at home and abroad. After a long career at the helm of Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Philippe de Rothschild died in 1988 at the age of 86, succeeded by his daughter Baroness Philippine de Rothschild. Four years before Robert Mondavi’s death in 2008, he relinquished his share in Opus One and sold it to wine conglomerate Constellation Brands. Nowadays the estate it is owned jointly by Constellation Brands and Baronne Philippe de Rothschild S.A., and continues to enjoy worldwide acclaim.