I rarely lacked for inspiration.  

But as I look back now, of all the people I’ve met and written about over the years, two stand out above all the rest: Mother Teresa and Robert Mondavi. (And I’ll bet Bob never dreamed that one day his name would be used in the same breath as Mother Teresa, the revered saint of The Poorest of the Poor!)

I ghost-wrote Robert’s memoir, “Harvests of Joy,” and I had the privilege of being a friend of his throughout the final 12 years of his life. Robert was a born leader, a gifted creator, and a magnificent man. I miss him every single day. And shhh... I have something exciting in the works, about the wisdom and spirit that helped Robert and his wife Margrit turn the Napa Valley into what it is today, a shining symbol of American art, culture, and cuisine. Look for the new book soon! 

​As for Mother Teresa, well, that tiny being changed my life and remains for me a constant source of inspiration. I spent four days with her in Calcutta, and later I was on hand in Norway when she received the Nobel Peace Prize. That night, I joined Mother and a huge crowd of her followers, walking through the icy streets of Oslo, singing songs, many with tears of joy and reverence streaming down their cheeks. I have never seen or felt anything quite like it. You can read all about it in “Zelda, The Queen of Paris.” (Yes, it’s far more than a dog story!)
Mother Teresa and me,
 From the pen of J.C. Suares

The Life of Joseph Phelps,
pioneering builder and winemaker 
HomeThe JourneyWritingPublishingMentoring

Robert Mondavi, The Godfather
 of American Wine. What a guy!

 The Historic Rise of 
Constellation Brands
Perrier Comes To America, with a revolution in mind!
The History of Visa and Digital Money
 The Art of Wine       Label Design
Ah, Gerard. A bestseller in France, with editions here, Germany and the U.K.
Photos Courtesy, Avis Mandel
I have a lot more to say about Robert and Margrit Mondavi, including many stories that have never been told. In my eyes, Margrit was the unsung hero behind so much of what Bob achieved. Art, culture, elegant cuisine, The Oxbow School -- one of the most esteemed arts programs in America  -- so much of what Robert built and became known for really began with Margrit.  

And there’s something more: the man was everything a true leader should be: fearless, clear and determined in his chosen mission, loyal and dedicated to his staff, and always supportive and uplifting to be around -- unless you were one of his very fine sons! Michael and Tim were skilled and accomplished in their chosen realms at the Robert Mondavi Winery, but, as I saw up close, they could never fully satisfy their father’s expectations. That was a tragic flaw, and therein hangs a huge lesson for all of us, especially we parents! I have much more to 
say about Robert and Margrit, true giants of our time. Stay tuned!