Hubert Trimbach, Ambassador for Alsatian Wines, Dies at 85


Hubert Trimbach, the sales director of his family’s winery in Alsace for more than 50 years, has died. He was 85 years old. His family announced his passing on Sept. 14.

Today Maison Trimbach is a well-known and venerated name from France’s northeastern Alsace region. But that wasn’t the case when Hubert joined his older brother Bernard, Trimbach’s winemaker, in 1963. The estate struggled following World War II, largely due to the premature death of Bernard and Hubert’s father, Pierre, just after the war.

Bernard was quietly making outstanding wines in a classic, dry Alsatian style, and Hubert proved to be the man to market them. Known for his easy, outgoing personality, Hubert was the perfect complement to his reserved brother and an ideal salesman. He traveled the globe for decades, putting Trimbach wines in front of managers, sommeliers and guests in the world’s finest hotels and restaurants.

“One of Hubert’s tricks was to travel with the smallest possible luggage because he did not want to lose time at baggage claim, in order to visit as many customers as possible,” said Jean Trimbach, Hubert’s nephew. “He was very close to many Alsatian top chefs in the U.S.A., like André Soltner, Jean Joho, Hubert Keller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who developed their businesses in the 1980s and ‘90s and who were the greatest Trimbach ambassadors. At [a] time [when] Alsace wines were unknown in the USA, Hubert wanted to convince everyone that a top Riesling or Pinot Gris could match fine foods as well as any other wine.”

Established in 1626, Trimbach is now helmed by the 12th generation, Bernard’s sons Pierre and Jean. But both Hubert and Bernard remained active at the winery long after Pierre took over winemaking and Jean took on sales. The 13th generation, Pierre’s daughters Anne and Frederique and Jean’s children Julien and Pauline, have also joined the estate. With 150 acres of vineyards in the Alsace region and the winery in Ribeauvillé, Trimbach is best-known for its Riesling Clos Ste.-Hune, made from a vineyard plot located within the Rosacker grand cru, as well as their Riesling Frédéric Émile. Beginning with the 2014 vintage, Trimbach has released an impressive range of bottlings from four grand cru sites: Schlossberg, Geisberg, Mandelberg and Brand.

Hubert is survived by his brother Bernard, his nephews, grand-nephew and grand-nieces.

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