Today is the 9'th Anniversary of DonnReisen's death. I miss that guy.
I met Donn early on when he became the Marketing guy for RidgeVnyds. With this big walrus-like mustache (at times), he was one of the goofiest guys I ever met in the wine biz. He was a very hard worker, very demanding of himself, a great shmoozer in a sincere sort of way, just one of the very best.
Every time I go into the (spiffed up) Lower Barn, I look over to the side at his office and a flood of fond memories come over me. Susan & I had the privilege of pouring Ridge wines at several events over the yrs w/ Donn. Everybody, but everybody, came up to the Ridge table and wanted to visit w/ Donn. It was clear that he was greatly loved by the wine community.

My best Donn story: In the late '90's, Donn was in attendance at the SantaFe Wine&Chile Fiesta to represent Ridge. He knew my fondness for Calif Syrah, so brought a btl of the unreleased first Syrah ('96 I believe) of Ridge's, from the Lytton West vnyd. At our DaveJones Memorial Potluck, he proudly opened it and gave me the first pour. He could immediately tell from my looks that I was somewhat disappointed. At the time, I was used to big/ripe intensely blackberry Calif Syrahs. He put his hand on my shoulder, gave me this knowing/avuncular look, and assured me "Give it some'll come around". He was, of course, as was his wont, to be right. When I had my last btl at about 10 yrs of age, it had developed into the beautiful classic aged Ridge red. Ridge continues to make Syrah in this style, that seem rather lean somewhat Ridgey. But they typically evolve into very interesting, if atypical, Calif a tasting of Ridge Rhones up at Ridge afore a RhoneRangers tasting, showed.

One yr, at the SantaFe W&C Fiesta, a Somm from a ColoradoSprings (Blue something..BlueStar?) asked if he could have the Ridge corkscrew Donn was using to open btls. Donn apologized profusely, but he needed it for the rest of the day, but to come back towards the end and he could have it. Alas, the guy never did return to the Ridge table. Towards the end of the pouring, Donn took the corkscrew and plunged into the crowd to track him down...but to no avail. I had the Somm's card, so gave it to Donn who, when he returned to the Ridge, mailed him out several Ridge corkscrews, which I'm sure thrilled the guy. That was the kind of personal touch that Donn excelled at.

I later yrs, riding his bike down MonteBelloRd where it comes out above StevensCreek Reservoir, he took a serious spill and did a face plant onto the curb. He was very lucky to survive. He required extensive plastic surgery. Afore his last one, on the phone, I remarked to Donn that while they were at it, why didn't he ask them to give him a TomCruise look-alike/stunningly handsome face. His retort was classic Donn. "No...I think I'll just keep the DonnReisen face...such as it works for me".

I still have this orangey MonteBelloRidge T-shirt of Donn's that Marilyn gifted me with after his death.

Anyway...remembering a very special guy today. One of a kind.

Edited by TomHill (01-26-2018 06:45:02)