A second Mondavi is loosening his ties with the Robert Mondavi Corp. The winemaker announced yesterday (6 October) that Timothy J. Mondavi will leave as vice chairman and winegrower, effective immediately.

"I intend to explore wine-related opportunities with members of my family," said Tim Mondavi. "I will remain a (winegrowing) consultant to the company, so I can continue to help maintain the style and legacy of our fine wines from the Napa Valley."

Tim Mondavi's departure follows the announcement earlier this week that the company requested the resignation of his brother, R.Michael Mondavi. The winemaker's board of directors sent a letter to Mondavi requesting his resignation as a director following quotes and information recently attributed to him in the press.

The company also said yesterday that it has completed its previously announced search for a seasoned executive to manage its core luxury assets. Jean-Michel Valette has been appointed president and managing director of Robert Mondavi Winery effective from yesterday.

In a statement, the chairman of the company's board, Ted Hall, said: "We are pleased to have someone of Jean-Michel Valette's talent and experience. His skills and in-depth knowledge of the Napa Valley will be invaluable as we take steps to protect and enhance the unique position of Robert Mondavi Winery among the great wine estates of the world."

"It is an incredible honour to join one of the world's great fine wine estates at an exciting turning point in its life," Valette said. "I am looking forward to bringing renewed focus and attention to Robert Mondavi Winery as an independent entity in the long-term ownership hands where it belongs."