Though I met Tom Shelton years ago, I knew him principally through articles and columns he wrote for Spring Valley Times, the house organ of Joseph Phelps Vineyards in Napa Valley. In a place and during an era when representatives of wineries chose their words so carefully that they'd come off tired and bland, Shelton was refreshingly and colorfully blunt. Whether as president of Joseph Phelps Vineyards from 1995 until earlier this year, or as a vocal director of the trade group Napa Valley Vintners, Shelton left no doubt where he stood on wine issues, and for that alone his forthright character will be missed. Tom Shelton died of brain cancer over the weekend at 55. James Laube and MaryAnn Worobiec have more about Tom Shelton at the Web site of Wine Spectator.
July 29, 2008
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