A giant in the wine business, a friend and a legend left us on Monday. Donn Reisen, the President of Ridge Vineyards, is gone.
Donn was synonymous with Zinfandel, and he was a pioneer in promoting the grape and all it's American glory. Donn had been with Ridge since 1977, working his way from a tractor all the way to the top. Moving from fields to sales meetings, no matter whom he was talking to, everyone came away with an understanding of what wine passion truly meant. Donn was a great motivator and a great spokesman, who demonstrated an amazing sense of humor and a great zest for storytelling. There can be few who met him who would ever forget him; I know that I certainly will not. Donn was one of the first wine people who stepped forth to be an interview on the Crush. It did not matter that we had 4 stations, he wanted to lend a hand and spread the gospel. He was my twelfth show, and he led me through the interview, carrying my weight, and I will never be able to thank him enough for that.. He has left his mark on all of us in the business that were fortunate enough to meet him. No matter what comes, I hope that he is remembered for his larger than life persona, and for the many people he touched along his journey. Happy Harvest Donn.