2019 Recipient – Kent Rosenblum 1944-2018
A veterinarian by trade, Kent Rosenblum was Founder and Winemaker of Rosenblum Cellars, building the winery from a 400-case to a 250,000-case producer over a span of three decades from 1978 to 2008. Rosenblum was famous for his big, bold Zinfandel wines. For Kent, making wine was always about a willingness to explore viticultural regions and experiment with winemaking techniques. Kent had no intention of selling the winery, however in 2008 he was approached by Diageo, and as he put it “they came with too much money to say no.” He then started up Rock Wall Wines, with daughter Shauna as winemaker. Rock Wall continues to be about having fun, while making the best wines from the best regions and sharing the experience with others. Kent was always fond of saying, “Never underestimate the value of a little fun.”.
2019 Recipient – Robert Haas 1927-2018
Robert Haas began his career in wine as a buyer for his family’s fine wine retail shop in New York City. He was prescient establishing relationships with top wine houses in France. Later he established his own company, Vineyard Brands, which flourished by expanding its selection from France to include Italy, Chile, California and Oregon. Robert had a love for Rhone wines, and with the Perrin Family of Chateau Beaucastel, sought out the perfect location to produce Rhone style wines in California. Their search brought them to Paso Robles and the establishment of Tablas Creek Vineyards in 1985. There they broke tradition and imported vines from France, some of which had never been seen in California, passed them through the rigorous 3 year quarantine system, and then propagated them for use on their own property. Ultimately their nursery made millions of vines available for planting by other wineries throughout California, Washington, Texas and Virginia. Robert was also ahead of the curve in making wine blends, as opposed to the varietal penchant of the day.
2018 – Professor Kenneth Fugelsang 1946-2017
2018 – Dennis Martin, Fetzer Vineyards Winemaker 1948-2017