Before we take our first steps into the new decade, Wine Spectator's editors would like to take a few moments to remember those from the wine industry that passed this year—pioneers, standard-bearers and loved ones, all.
Napa lost some great ones in 2019, including Adelle "Boots" Brounstein, co-founder of Diamond Creek winery, and John Shafer, founder of Shafer Vineyards. Bordeaux likewise mourned the passing of old-guard legend and longtime Haut-Brion winemaker Jean-Bernard Delmas. And we were saddened to learn of the passing of Williams Selyem founding winemaker Burt Williams, whose wines changed the way we look at California Pinot Noir. We'll fondly remember these members of our community that we lost in 2019.
A highly regarded and well-liked buyer of Burgundy, Ned Benedict was a fixture in the New York wine scene.
Championing lesser-praised old varieties in Sonoma, Marietta Cellars founder Chris Bilbro focused on bold red blends before they were trendy and set an example for his sons—three of whom went on to become winemakers.
Adelle "Boots" Brounstein
Adelle "Boots" Brounstein was the heart and soul of Diamond Creek winery, which pioneered terroir-focused single-vineyard Cabernets in Napa.
Catapulting the brands he represented through his seemingly endless network of friendships and acquaintances, wine industry PR legend Jim Caudill represented some of California's biggest wine names over the span of three decades.
Born at Château Haut-Brion, Jean-Bernard Delmas spent 42 years improving quality at the Bordeaux first-growth, and made outstanding wines at La Mission Haut-Brion and Montrose as well.
Originally a wine merchant, Jean Gautreau purchased Bordeaux's neglected Sociando-Mallet estate in 1969 and revitalized it.
Bordeaux legend and advocate for the region's lesser-esteemed vineyards and terroirs, André Lurton was an ambassador for the region and an innovator.
Former president of New Line Cinema production company and New York native Michael Lynne bought Long Island's Bedell Cellars in 2000 and turned it into a local leader in quality and sustainability.
Napa pioneer John Shafer's Hillside Select cult Cabernet helped put the Stags Leap District on the map.
Dedicated and outspoken, Gianfranco Soldera was a relentless defender of Brunello, adhering to traditional methods at his Case Basse winery in Tuscany.
Self-taught winemaker Burt Williams co-founded Williams Selyem winery and was instrumental in starting California's love affair with Pinot Noir.