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April Fools: Executive Becomes Shark Bait; Mondaviland Remains Fantasy

April 2, 1991

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Who would believe a corporate shark swimming alongside the finned variety in an aquarium tank?

What initially appeared to be a fishy story turned out to be an April Fool’s Day prank.

Sun Microsystems vice president Wayne Rosing was baited by his wife on Monday into a trip to the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco. There, submerged in a shark tank, Rosing found a computer workstation with his name on it.

An experienced scuba diver, Rosing obliged his pranksters, donning gear and jumping in with a pair of harmless but scary-looking seven-gill sharks.

″These guys are pretty tame compared with the guys I have to work with,″ quipped Rosing, a mastermind of past pranks for the Mountain View-based computer maker.

Rosing wasn’t the only businessman to take an April Fool’s hit.

Wine mogul Robert Mondavi opened up Monday’s edition of ″The Wine Spectator″ to read he planned to open a 200-acre theme park in Napa Valley called Mondaviland.

″For thrill-seekers, there’s the treacherous boat trip down Cabernet River and the harrowing adventure ride, Escape from Tannin Mountain,″ the Spectator said. ″Only the brave should challenge the Corkscrew, an 80-mph descent into sheer terror that will uncork the fear in everyone.″

The story was pure fantasy, said Mondavi spokesman Harvey Posert.

″I saw (Mondavi) read it, laughing and saying, ‘But it isn’t true. I’m not going to be involved in Disneyland,’ ″ Posert said.

Posert said the story was a spoof on plans Mondavi and three other parties have for a wine cultural center in the Napa Valley. The center, which remains in the planning stages, would offer activities related to wine and food education, but no roller coasters.

″The River of Cabernet would simply be to glasses,″ Posert said.

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