2023: In Memoriam

Wine

2024 awaits, but before we turn the calendar, Wine Spectator‘s editors would like to remember the wine industry trailblazers, innovators and history makers we lost this year.

In 2023, we said goodbye to longtime California wine industry leaders Paul Dolan, Mike Grgich, Donald Hess and Michael Martini, as well as Oregon Pinot Noir legend Dick Erath. Star chef, restaurateur and vintner Michael Chiarello passed suddenly at age 61. From France, charismatic Château Lynch Bages winemaker Jean-Michel Cazes, d’Yquem owner Alexandre de Lur Saluces and Alsace’s Hubert Trimbach were all lost this year after long and distinguished careers. We’ll remember them all as we celebrate the new year to come.


Jean Baumard

The longtime winemaker at Domaine des Baumard brought new acclaim to Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley.


Giuseppe Benanti

Founder of his family’s winery on the slopes of Sicily’s famed volcano helped spark Mount Etna’s wine renaissance


Michael Benedict stands in his beloved Sanford & Benedict vineyard; he left a job as a university botanist to see if vines could thrive in the area’s cool hills. (Courtesy of Terlato)

Michael Benedict

Co-founder of Sanford & Benedict helped pave the way for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara’s Sta. Rita Hills


Jacky Blot

Considered one of the Loire’s most talented winemakers, Blot set a new standard


Jean-Michel Cazes

The Bordeaux icon and revered winemaker behind Château Lynch Bages revitalized his family’s winery and then helped rejuvenate the entire region


 Bottega chef and restaurateur Michael Chiarello, left, and Wine Spectator editor and publisher Marvin R. Shanken celebrated the long history of the magazine's Bring Your Own Magnum Party in Napa Valley.

Bottega chef and restaurateur Michael Chiarello, left, and Wine Spectator editor and publisher Marvin R. Shanken celebrated the long history of the magazine’s Bring Your Own Magnum Party in Napa Valley. (Jason Tinacci)

Michael Chiarello

Napa Valley culinary star and Bottega restaurateur made his name at Tra Vigne before venturing into cookbooks, winemaking, olive oil and TV shows


Michele Chiarlo

The enterprising Barolo and Barbera maker learned the best way to produce great wine was to use the right grapegrowing techniques


 Paul Dolan was a champion of more sustainable farming for decades, believing it wasn't just for small wineries.

Paul Dolan was a champion of more sustainable farming for decades, believing it wasn’t just for small wineries. (Melissa Barnes)

Paul Dolan

As a longtime leader at Fetzer and other projects, he pushed wineries and growers to adopt organic, biodynamic and regenerative farming


Dick Erath

Oregon Pinot Noir pioneer helped lay the groundwork for Willamette Valley’s success


 California winemaker Mike Grgich, before his death in 2023 at age 100.

Mike Grgich dreamed of making wine in Napa Valley and built an impressive career, particularly with white wines.

Mike Grgich

The longtime Napa Valley winemaker was best known for crafting the famed 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that won the Paris Tasting of 1976


Donald Hess

The Swiss businessman and art collector built a wine corporation starting in Napa Valley before moving to the Andes to focus on Malbec


 Alexandre de Lur Saluces at Château de Fargues, the Sauternes estate his family has worked at since the 15th century.

Alexandre de Lur Saluces at Château de Fargues, the Sauternes estate his family has worked at since the 15th century. (Deepix Studio)

Alexandre de Lur Saluces

The aristocrat and Château d’Yquem proprietor was a global ambassador for the Sauternes icon


 Michael Martini worked for 40 years in the cellars of Louis M. Martini, a historic Napa winery that opened a year after Prohibition ended.

Michael Martini worked for 40 years in the cellars of Louis M. Martini, a historic Napa winery that opened a year after Prohibition ended. (Courtesy of Louis M. Martini)

Michael Martini

A “larger-than-life” character, the third-generation winemaker made his family’s Napa wines for more than 40 years


 Luciano Sandrone was working as cellar master at Marchesi di Barolo when he began a boutique winery on the side from one small parcel.

Luciano Sandrone was working as cellar master at Marchesi di Barolo when he began a boutique winery on the side from one small parcel. (Molchen)

Luciano Sandrone

A newcomer to wine, Sandrone managed to combine innovative winemaking with traditional grapegrowing to produce gorgeous wines, becoming a Barolo icon in the process


Hubert Trimbach

While his brother made Trimbach’s gorgeous Alsatian Riesling, Pinot Gris and more, Hubert traveled the world to build a market for them, courting chefs and sommeliers

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