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Tragedy Strikes Sonoma's Van Staaveren Family

On a weekend planned to celebrate the couple's success at Chateau St. Jean, they instead mourn the loss of their son
Photo by: Greg Gorman

Posted: Sep 5, 2012 11:30am ET

It was a weekend intended to honor two fine winemakers. Instead it turned into mourning for their loss.

Margo and Don Van Staaveren were to be feted this past weekend at the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction for their contributions to Sonoma wine. No couple has ever been more deserving. The two have both been pillars of the wine community for decades. Both have been winemakers at Chateau St. Jean; Margo still is. Don makes wine for Three Sticks. The venue for this year's event was St. Jean. The couple co-chaired the event and were to be toasted Monday, the final day of the event.

But in as tragic a turn of events as one could imagine, the Van Staaverens lost their son, Coby, 22, on Thursday. He was killed in a skateboarding accident in San Luis Obispo, where he was a student entering his senior year at Cal Poly SLO.

As people called this weekend to convey the tragic news, it was hard to find even a sliver of a silver lining in this horribly black cloud. As someone who has known and admired both of them for some 30 years, I pray that with time they will somehow find the strength and courage to carry on. I know they will.

Jeff Ames
Napa, ca —  September 5, 2012 1:48pm ET
Wow, I can not imagine. My best wishes to them both.
Troy Peterson
Burbank, CA —  September 5, 2012 2:08pm ET
Oh my, how awful. Not to get preachy here, but I hope no one tries to console them with the idea that it was "his time" or that God needed another angel. Time and unforeseen occurence befall us all. What a tragedy. I can only wish that their faith holds out the hope of seeing him again.
Sam Folsom
San Francisco, CA —  September 6, 2012 12:08pm ET
Such a sad story. I can't imagine their pain. Thanks for posting, Jim.

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