Matriarch of family winery
Kathleen Fetzer, 88, the matriarch of one of California’s most successful family wineries, died Sept. 15 at a private care home in Ukiah, a family spokesman said. The cause of death was not given.
Fetzer and her husband, Bernard, founded Fetzer Vineyards in 1968 and produced 2,500 cases of red table wine in the first year.
It quickly gained a reputation for quality and became a leader in the organic farming movement. By 1992, when it was sold to the Brown-Forman liquor conglomerate, it was turning out more than 2 million cases a year.
Born in Luverne, Minn., on Nov. 2, 1921, Fetzer moved to the Bay Area during World War II.
After marrying Bernard Fetzer, a merchant marine from Southern California, in 1945, she moved with him to Oregon, where they built a lumber business.
In 1958 they purchased a run-down, 700-acre ranch in Mendocino County and, with their six children, began growing wine grapes and selling them to amateur winemakers.
The family grew to 11 children, all of whom played a role in establishing and expanding the wine business.
After Bernard Fetzer died in 1981, Kathleen and her children ran the winery. They purchased Valley Oaks Ranch in Hopland, where they created a food and wine center and established an organic garden that became a showcase for 1,200 varieties of fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs.
Jill Jackson, who turned her New Orleans radio and TV interview show into the “Jill Jackson’s Hollywood” gossip column that was syndicated by King Features to more than a thousand weekly and non-daily publications around the country since the 1980s, died in Beverly Hills on Sept. 8 of complications from a fall. She was 97.