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01.2008

Massachusetts Beverage Business

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OBITUARIES

Article By: MBB

BARON ELIE ROBERT DE ROTHSCHILD, 9O, who helped France's renowned Rothschild winemaking and banking dynasty recover from the ravages of World War II, died August 6 while vacationing at his Austrian hunting lodge. He had been on a hunting trip at his lodge near the Alpine village of Scharnitz outside Innsbruck when he suffered a fatal heart attack. He was the second prominent Rothschild to die this year. In June, family patriarch Baron Guy de Rothschild died in Paris. The family's prestigious Chateau Lafite-Rothschild winery, for which Elie de Rothschild began working in 1946 after serving as an Allied soldier during WWII, credits him with at least two of the best and most memorable postwar Bordeaux vintages: 1947 and 1949. "After the difficult decades following the turn of the century, and the painful period of World War II, Baron Elie de Rothschild was entrusted with the recovery of the estate," the domain said on its website. "Vintages 1947 and 1949 were rays of hope amid the hard labors of renewal," it said. Chateau Lafite-Rothschild described the baron as "a major shaper of events in the difficult reconstitution of the fine wine market" in postwar Europe. Rothschild became a prominent taster at wine events in London, and went on to help found the Bordeaux Wine Guild in 195O, before passing management responsibilities to a nephew, Baron Eric de Rothschild, in the 197Os. Elie de Rothschild was captured by the Germans during World War II near the border with Belgium. He wound up at Luebeck, one of the Nazis' most infamous POW camps. There, he was reunited with a brother, Alain, and although they were Jews, they were treated as captured officers and avoided execution.



ROBERT TODD WILLIAMS, 69, aka "Dr. Toad" or just Todd, passed August 14 in Sonoma County of heart failure. Todd, a native of Versailles, Kentucky, founded Russian River Valley's Toad Hollow Vineyards in 1993 with business partner Rodney Strong. Todd started in the bar business working everywhere from Oklahoma to San Francisco to Jamaica. Eventually, he ended up in the California wine business in the '8Os where he built a name for himself as a tireless advocate for small, premium producers. In 1993, during a successful stint with his own sales company, Hillside Estates, Todd partnered with Rodney Strong who had just sold his namesake winery. The two found a new project to pursue as their retirement dream: founding Toad Hollow Vineyards. Starting with Strong's Russian River chardonnay vineyard land and Todd's sales expertise, they released 3OOO cases of Toad Hollow wines in May of 1994. The brand grew to over 1OO,OOO cases in 2OO7 with consistent critical acclaim for the wines. Todd's winery staff remembers: "Todd's big arms embraced everyone whom he met. His magnanimous nature created instant friends".



DIANE M. CONLEY, 49, a longtime Horizon Beverage employee, passed away August 23 after a long battle with cancer. An information technology associate with Horizon for the past twenty years, she is survived by her husband Daniel, two daughters, four brothers and sisters as well as many nieces and nephews.

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