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Obituary,Petite Sirah,PS I Love You,Wine,Wine Business,Winery,Zinfandel

Leo Trentadue of Trentadue Winery passes away

RIP – Leo Trentadue of Trentadue Winery passes away…

The hardest stories to write are the ones that come with the following:

From Miro Tcholakov:

Hi Jo, Happy New Year!

Unfortunately we have to start the year with bad news. Leo passed last night. It is not out yet but we are getting ready to let people know. I have a favor to ask- will you be able to write a short obituary for the press? If yes let me know and what would charge. Thanks Jo. Miro

Having worked with the family at varying levels, since 2001, it is I would know him better than most… And so the request came to me this morning (Monday), as I just wrote what is following my personal thoughts for the family.

My favorite memories of Leo all involve when it was party time. Leo loved parties. He love being with people and giving from his heart. I had a poignant lunch with him, when returning-from-Afghanistan veteran Cheryl Dupris was coming to wine country and wanted to taste Petite Sirah. I had sent a request to all of the members of PS I Love You, and was floored by the amount of responses I got to host her. Leo and his wife Evelyn wanted to host a lunch. Their family were also part of this party, and this has become one of my favorite memories for that time. Before that day, I didn’t know that Leo was a veteran. After the lunch, it was very clear to me that Leo had been willing to give his life for all of us, so that we may be well rid of the Hitler scourge and anything like that for future generations.

[Image courtesy of Cheryl Dupris.]

After having been hosted by some war veterans, Cheryl was inspired to create a float that would involve wine veterans, whom she had met during her visit. And so, the late Jack Heeger (a Napa journalist) and Leo Trentadue braved the cold and went to New York City to participate in that parade. I helped Cheryl to get people jazzed about going, she took it from there, hosting them with many activities, including a lunch with the mayor… Leo, I’m going to miss your sweet ways!

RIP Leo Trentadue ~ July 30, 1925 – January 5, 2014

On Sunday, January 5, 2014, at the age of 88 years old, Sonoma County vintner and World War II Veteran Leo Trentadue passed away of respiratory failure.

Born on July 30, 1925, in Cupertino, California, Leo was raised on his family’s apricot ranch. Always the humble farmer, Leo Trentadue is best known as the wine patriarch of Trentadue Winery in Alexander Valley of Sonoma County. He was a devoted family man, and his passing will be deeply felt by all who knew and appreciated Leo’s brave and magnanimous spirit.

In 1959, Leo and his wife Evelyn Trentadue decided to leave their Santa Clara County roots, and headed north. They settled on their 150-acre ranch of plum trees, and 60 acres of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Carignan vines. Today, those original vines are still producing excellent fruit, three generations later, on this 225 acre Alexander Valley Estate.

Leo Trentadue is also known and appreciated as a celebrated war hero. Leo was awarded both a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his World War II participation. At the age of 19, Leo was drafted by the U.S. Army. Shortly thereafter he boarded the S.S. Mauritania, bound for Liverpool. From Liverpool, he was put onto another boat for Cherbourg, west of Omaha Beach. It took his troop three days—without food—to cross the Channel. This was August of 1944, and where he stayed for two months at the front line.

When Leo Trentadue celebrated his seventy-ninth birthday in 2004, it was with a trip to the verdant forests of northern France, exactly 60 years later. Taken with his wife Evelyn and son Victor, according to his earlier accounts, “This is where I was nearly put into the earth by German bullets . . . several times. I might have done well in a casino, in those days. You could certainly have called me ‘Lucky.’ But of all the times I should have been killed, I was most lucky when a bullet went through my left bicep. Had I turned the other way, it would surely have gone through my heart!”

Leo had particularly fond memories of this trip. Quoting earlier recounts, “Everyone says that the French hate Americans, and I will admit that some Parisians may be a little curt. But as soon as we got out into the country, especially where the fighting was all those years ago, we were treated like royalty. People came up to us, saying, ‘If it hadn’t been for you, we’d be speaking German today.’ There were as many as four memorials each day. At Blamont, where I was wounded, we attended a special ceremony. They feted us with food and wine at every event. The red wines were much lighter than ours, and you could drink them almost like beer. What really surprised me was that there were still concrete World War I bunkers—my father had served in the US Army at Verdun, not too far from where I was wounded—that looked like they had been in use yesterday.”

Had that been the case, wine country would have had to forego the excellent, justly famed “Geyserville” Zinfandels; not only from Trentadue, but also from Ridge Vineyards. Together, it was they who initially put those wines on the map.

Leo Trentadue is survived by his wife Evelyn Trentadue, son Victor Trentadue, daughters Annette Trentadue, and Leanne Allen. Daughter-in-law Cindy Trentadue. Son-in-law Gary Allen.  Grandchildren are the following: Steven and Tyler Trentadue (Victor Trentadue’s children), Crystal Kovanda (husband is Andrew Kovanda), and twins Brittany and Tiffany Allen.

Leo was preceded in death by Annette Trentadue’s daughter Nicole Biagi, who passed away several years ago.

Visitation will be Friday, January 10, 2014 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., at St. John’s Catholic Church, Healdsburg, with a Blessing at 11:00 a.m. Interment with military honors at Oakmound Cemetery, Healdsburg. In lieu of flowers please send donations to Memorial Hospice at 821 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401. Arrangements by Fred Young F. H. Cloverdale, 707-894-2540.

 

 

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4 Responses to “Leo Trentadue of Trentadue Winery passes away”

  1. Honey says:

    I am so saddened by the departure but confident that Leo’s inspriation will live forever..

    Life ends as we know it everyday; July 30, 1925 – January 5, 2014

    …but life begins from those that pass on, giving strength to those that can embrace
    the passing of life…and on this day I say good bye to a man who has inspired me to live and continue only through his strength, character and determination to love life despite the paths he has had cross.

    When we are brought to crossroads in our life, our faith is challenged to make a choice and that is to believe in ourselves despite our own doubts.

    I am so grateful for the moments that I have had with Leo for his inspiration that I was so fortunate to receive when I met him. He is a WWII Veteran and I was just coming home from Afghanistan and while he was so proud of me I was even more proud of him for living his life in the manner he choose, after his life in combat in WWII.

    While the Great Spirit embraces his arrival I celebrate in all that he has given to this world and to this life…Leo I know you can hear me, I look forward to all your inspirational guidance and your continued love for life.

    May your faith bring peace to your family and all your loved ones while they all transition through your departure. Until we meet again my friend, until we meet again…Hugs and kisses, Honey Airborne!!!

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Sweet, Honey…

  3. Bret B Baker says:

    We met Leo and Evelyn and Victor on that 2004 trip to France that Leo talked about. (My father was also a veteran of the 79th division.) The Trentadues had brought wine with them to France, which was quite the curiosity. That was an incredibly memorable trip, going with those veterans to places where they had fought. As Leo said, the French people were still very appreciative 60 years later; they still believe that but for the Americans they would be speaking German now.
    Leo invited us to come visit them in Sonoma probably thinking we would not come from Oklahoma, but we did. We have visited Leo and Evelyn several times since 2004. We have enjoyed wine with them, highballs with them and dinner at their house. Absolutely delightful people, wonderful hosts to us folks from the Midwest. Leo was an absolutely wonderful person. We sincerely appreciated the times he and his family have spent with us. We will miss him. God rest, Leo.

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Bret, for your own personal story.

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