Ned, wife Bobbi, and Trentadue’s winemaker Miro Tcholakov
“Ned” Carton, Director of Sales & Marketing for Trentadue Winery, died suddenly in his home on Tuesday, October 22, 2007, at 59 years old of a massive coronary.
As Director of Sales and Marketing for Trentadue Winery, operated by one of Sonoma County’s longest standing winemaking families, Ned Carton was well-known and greatly respected within the wine industry.
Born on April 19, 1948, in Bloomfield, New Jersey, Ned Carton was educated in local New Jersey schools, attended the Christian Brothers Academy High School, and then moved to Florida to attend St. Leo’s University and Florida University, graduating with a B.S. degree in 1976.
During college, Ned played baseball and football, which set the stage for his interests in sports, as he became an avid golfer. Ned was known for enjoying a really low handicap. According to wine industry publicist Dan Gustavson, “Ned probably played golf with half of the wine industry. Most people are going to remember him that way. He was great for making deals, and was a master at wining, dining, and schmoozing.”
Ned’s early career began in New Jersey, where he began with pharmaceutical sales; but, it didn’t take him long to segue into the food and wine industry. Ned owned a wine shop called “Quay,” and also he owned and operated “Truffles Restaurant” with his wife Bobbi. By 1986, Ned began working with Chateau St. Jean. At the time, Dick Arrowood was also working at Chateau St. Jean, and this union began what became a long-standing friendship. In 1989, Ned followed Dick to Arrowood, where he helped manage sales until 1996.
When asked about Ned Carton, Dick Arrowood had this to say, “We’ve known each other for many, many years. Ned’s one of those people that it’s impossible to say anything but positive things about him. He had a heart as big as the all outdoors. I loved him like a brother. Throughout our lives together, I never lost the respect of his friendship. If you talk to anyone in the wine business who knew Ned, any one would tell you that he just had a lot going for him. Who wouldn’t remember him saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah’ faster than the tongue can speak? He will be greatly missed and stay in our hearts forever.”
Ned moved on to Four Vines Winery, where he was part owner from 1997 to 2001. From there, Ned became national sales manager at Mazzocco Vineyards, and began his close connection to winemaker Phyllis Zouzounis, who today is a winemaker partner of Deux Amis Winery.
The two wine professionals worked together at Mazzocco Vineyards until August 2005. When asked about her relationship with Ned, Phyllis had this to say, “Ned was a one of a kind, as well as a really good friend. When he was born, they broke the mold. He was versatile, funny, and had a way of pushing people when he saw good things in them. Not in a negative way, he just brought out the best in people, and then was very proud when that person went on to achieve great things. He loved his work. He loved his family… He loved life, and we all loved him.”
In September 2005, Ned Carton began his career with Trentadue Winery. Winemaker Miro Tcholakov remembers Ned, “He was an old-school professional. I called him Obiwan, because that’s what he was for me. He was a no-nonsense businessman whose original New Jersey roots had him down to the chase. He did what it took to get a job done, and yet he had this really gentle side to him that we all loved. I respected him so much, as did everybody. He was like a father figure to me. We bonded.”
Speaking for the Trentadue family, Victor Trentadue has said that Ned filled a big pair of shoes at their winery. “He was a cheerleader. He was always happy. He encouraged me to be my best, and then enjoyed my achievements. He was a great sounding board, always a good listener. He also knew everyone, everywhere by name; every wine shop owner, every restaurateur, and every golf course. I asked him if there was a golf course that he’d never played. He said that he had played them all. He worked hard, he played hard, and no one will ever be able to fill Ned’s shoes, again, the same way.”
On September 12, 1979, Ned Carton married Barbara (Bobbi) Price in New Jersey, and they’ve lived in Santa Rosa, California together for the last 12 years.
Along with his wife, survivors include a daughter, Nicole Collins, and son-in-law, Eric Collins, of Palm Coast, FL, and a brother, Richard Carton.
Memorial services will be at 10:00 a.m. Friday, October 26, at Trentadue Winery in Geyserville, CA.
Everyone that I talked to for this story had a really funny story about Ned. If you’ve got one, please share it… He’d want it that way. I can share that Dick Arrowood shared that when they began together, they looked very much alike in size and beard. There were a few times that Ned “stood in” for Dick when he couldn’t make a road trip, and Ned wasn’t one to say who he was. People who met him thought he was Dick Arrowood, and Ned didn’t want to burst their bubble!
Phyllis Zouzounis shared with me that he had an attention to detail that was uncanny. Once, one of the office staff had new nail polish on. Ned arrived and declared that he loved her “Beach Blanket Bubbles!” He nailed it!
He was one of a kind, and those of us who knew him, knew a gentleman of extraordinary passion and caring!