Obituaries : Fred Abruzzini; Napa Wine Maker, Industry Pioneer

Associated Press

Fred Abruzzini, a retired wine maker who was one of the founding fathers of the modern Napa Valley wine industry, died when a tree limb fell on him in the back yard of his Napa home.

He was 84 when he died Thursday.

As wine maker at Beringer Vineyards from 1932 until he retired in 1956, Abruzzini was one of the original promoters of Napa Valley wine and of the Napa Valley as a tourist attraction.

Abruzzini was born in Sault St. Marie, Canada, and moved to California as a child. He worked for his uncle at the Cribari winery in Morgan Hill, Calif., before going to work for Beringer.

"He was the one who started opening the winery up to conventioneers from San Francisco," said Beringer spokesman Jim Eckert. "He'd go down to the Golden Gate Exposition and give out brochures and maps showing how to get to the Napa Valley."

Abruzzini is survived by his wife, Pearlene, three sons, two sisters, 12 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

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