Robert Mondavi Winery may date back more than half a century, but it’s certainly plugged into the modern zeitgeist. The Napa Valley mainstay has just unveiled a limited-edition collection of wines that can be accessed exclusively with non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The new “MCMLXVI” series was developed in partnership with French luxury porcelain house Bernardaud. In a nod to the year the winery was established, the offering comprises 1,966 exquisite porcelain magnums that will be available for $3,500 starting December 15. Even better, 50 bottles will be earmarked especially for Robb Report readers, who will have access to the pre-sale from December 12–14. (Naturally, you can pay with Ethereum in addition to regular USD.)
So, how does it work exactly? Artist Clay Heaton will produce a unique and collectible NFT digital artwork at the moment of purchase. This token acts as a “key” of sorts and gives you access to the real-life bottle of wine, as well as exclusive winery experiences and future offerings.
Collectors will also be given a digital transaction record for the NFT purchase that acts as proof of authenticity and will forever live on the blockchain. This type of authentication technology is increasingly being used throughout the wine industry (and beyond) in an effort to combat counterfeit products.
While the digital aspect is impressive, it’s hard to beat the tangible. The magnums actually represent the first wine bottles that Bernardaud has produced in its 150-year history. Sleek and minimalist by design, each 1.5-liter bottle takes 50 skilled craftsmen two weeks to create.
Then, there’s the wine itself. The collection includes three separate blends—one comes in a matte black bottle; the other two in burgundy red—that were created by winemakers Geneviève Janssens, Andy Erickson and Thomas Rivers Brown. Made from the 2019 vintage from the winery’s home vineyard, To Kalon, each drop is intended to age for 30 years or more. Brown’s creation is 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and Erickson’s is 89 percent Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Cabernet Franc. The wine by Janssens, meanwhile, shows more of the vineyard’s range and is nearly equal parts Cab Sav and Cab Franc, along with a little Petit Verdot.
“The MCMLXVI wines honor the terroir of To Kalon Vineyard and reflect our dedication to producing world-class wines,” Robert Mondavi Winery’s chief winemaker, Geneviève Janssens, said in a statement. “This collaboration is an embodiment of the innovative spirit of our founder, Robert Mondavi, and a testament to the legacy we are continuing to build.”
Now that’s worth raising a glass (or magnum) to.