Attorney; Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty
Richard Mendelson specializes in alcohol beverage law and land use planning for wineries and vineyards. His clients include some of the most recognized names in the California wine industry and many of the excellent restaurants and hotels for which the Napa Valley has become famous.
Mendelson has special expertise in obtaining governmental approval for new and expanding wineries and in helping wineries and grape-growers meet local, state and federal alcohol beverage and land use requirements. He has extensive experience appearing before alcohol beverage regulatory authorities and in negotiating with their staffs. He also has played an integral part in the formation of Napa Valley’s various winegrowing appellations.
Mendelson’s experience in the wine industry began as a graduate student at Magdalen College, Oxford, which houses one of Europe’s largest wine cellars. In 1977 he completed the higher certificate course offered by the London Wine and Spirit Education Trust. He then moved to France to work as the assistant to the export director of Bouchard Aîné et Fils, a Burgundy wine shipper (1978-79). During and after law school, Mendelson worked in the legal department of Wine Institute. After three years of civil litigation practice in San Francisco (1983-86) and one year as an international trade consultant, he moved to Napa to pursue his representation of the vineyard and wine industry.
Mendelson is a founding member of the International Wine Law Association, headquartered in Paris, and served as its president from 1992 to 1995. He has lectured extensively on vineyard and wine law as part of the vineyard and wine law degree programs of the University of Aix-Marseille and the University of Bordeaux in France and at the University of California, Davis.
Mendelson is a member of Hospitaliers de Pomerol, a Bordeaux honorary wine society, and sits on the board of directors of the di Rosa Preserve (art collection) and the Oxbow School (high school arts education). Mendelson is also a grower and wine proprietor, producing Mendelson Pinot Gris and Muscat Canelli Dessert Wines. His first release, 1996 Pinot Gris Dessert Wine, scored 95 points in the Wine Spectator. He also is a metal sculptor, whose works have been exhibited in Northern California.