The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2012

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Rods Hot MARC MONDAVI IS A WATER WITCH— BELIEVE IT OR NOT by Meridith May / photos by Nikki Ritcher B Marc Mondavi divines the location of an underground water stream in a Sauvignon Blanc vineyard on his property in St. Helena. reak a Y-shaped branch off a willow tree and walk through a vine- yard or farm. Point the base of the Y outward in front of you and direct your question to the powers that be: "Find the underground stream." While you take your paces, does anything occur? Does the willow branch seem to react? Does it bend toward the ground? Do you have the power? It was in his high school years that Marc Mondavi, son of Peter Mondavi Sr. and co-proprietor (along with his brother Peter) of Napa Valley's historic Charles Krug Winery, discovered his power. "I was dating a Yountville girl," begins Mondavi, as we walked alongside him as he showed us his craft, "and her father, who owned vineyards there, was a known diviner." He used a Y-shaped willow branch and watched as a young Marc commanded a response from above, or below, causing the willow branch to pull toward the ground, indicating the location of an underground water source. "He told me, 'You have it,'" explains Mondavi. "But I really didn't think anything of it at the time." Building a Well Years later, Marc's family was planning to dig a well on the property. Marc remembered his first experience with water divining. "I believed I possessed the ability to divine for water, but I had no idea how to proceed. So I called long time water witch Laurie [Frank Lawrence] Wood for help." Wood jumped in and showed Marc Mondavi how to do it. "I tagged along as Laurie showed me the ins and outs of finding locations to dig for wells," Marc tells THE TASTING PANEL. "As with most diviners I have met since, we somehow develop twists of our own. Some people like to dangle crystals at the end of the rods, others a small bottle of water." As Marc fine-tuned his own senses, he maintains that there are some basic questions that must be asked. october 2012 / the tasting panel / 59

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