German Wine Institute Executive Dies in Hijacked Plane Crash

Christian Adams, 37, was a passenger aboard United Airlines flight 93, which crashed on Sept. 11 in Pennsylvania after being taken over by terrorists.
Sep 18, 2001

The tragic events of last week have shocked and affected people around the world, including those in the wine and culinary fields. Among the many killed in the devastating Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States was Christian Adams, deputy director of the German Wine Institute. Adams, 37, was one of the passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in rural Pennsylvania after being hijacked last Tuesday.

"Christian Adams was a highly regarded and well-known figure in the German wine industry," said Armin Goering, managing director of the German Wine Institute, in Mainz, Germany. "His passion and commitment was visible in all his work, and he was a great ambassador for German wine. The sorrow of this loss will be felt throughout the whole industry."

Adams, who lived in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, joined the German Wine Institute in 1989 and became its export marketing director in 1995, with responsibility for promoting German wine outside the country. He worked for a short time in the New York office. He held degrees in viticulture and enology from the University of Geisenheim, in Germany, and in marketing from the University of California, Davis.

"For the Wine Institute it is a huge loss, both emotionally and professionally," said Wilhelm Steifensand, president of Valckenberg wine merchants and a member of the institute's board of directors. "He played a large role in the export of German wine and I don't know how the institute will fill the gap."

Carol Sullivan, director of the German Wine Information Bureau in New York, described Adams as "the hub of our whole wine promotion worldwide. He was extremely dedicated, considerate and could always be counted on for a well-thought out decision."

Adams was in New York on Monday, Sept. 10, for the bureau's annual vintage tasting of German wines, held at the Puck Building on Lafayette Street. He and other German winemakers and representatives were scheduled to repeat the tasting in San Francisco last Thursday.

On the morning of Sept. 11, Sullivan and Adams were both traveling to San Francisco for the tasting and left Newark on different flights, 15 minutes apart. Sullivan, whose flight was diverted, suffered a heart spasm upon hearing the fate of Adams and was hospitalized for a while. Many of the other German wine industry representatives were flying that day, but none were reported to be on Flight 93 or otherwise missing in the attacks.

Adams is survived by his wife, Silke, and two children, Lukas and Theresa.

A memorial service will be held at the Mainz Cathedral this Friday at 2:30. In addition, the German Wine Institute has set up a fund for Adams' family. According to Carol Sullivan, donations in the United States are being coordinated by a former employee of the German Wine Information Bureau, Cindy Krebs Martin, and will be transferred to the account in Germany.

In the United States, checks should be made out to:
"The Christian Adams Memorial Fund"
c/o 6100 Puerto Drive
Rancho Murieta, CA 95683

Bank: Raiffeissen-Volksbank eG, Mainz
Account: 20 640 9067
Bank Code number: 550 607 07
Account holder: Deutches Weininstitut
Please mention: "Spendenkonto Christian Adams"

-- Bruce Sanderson

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