You’re a good man, Charlie Rominger

A couple of weeks ago, Charlie Rominger – organic farmer, land steward, gentleman farmer, grape-grower, father, and all around good guy – died of cancer. My wife has known his family for a few years, and I met Charlie at a holiday gathering on their farm a few years ago. I was still getting my “ag legs” on, trying to sound familair with riparian areas and Integrated Pest Management. That was when I heard about their decade-long stint trying to get some special French grape rootstock imported to start their wine business…. A year later, we had some of their wine…. Oh wow – good stuff. We bought a few cases of the Romiger Rosé for our wedding reception, which along with our friend Walt’s homebrew beer was the hit of the party.

The Rominger-West tasting room opened today – a day after his memorial service. He would have wanted it that way, according to all accounts. A while back the Rominger-West wine business suffered a setback during the huge fire that destroyed an uncountable amount of wine holdings near Vallejo. But Charlie was upbeat about it – it’s just wine, and there’s more of where that came from. Except there aren’t more of where Charlie came from – he was one of a kind, from a one-of-a-kind Yolo farming family.

We had some Rominger Rosé leftover from the wedding, and brought some along with us camping (a bit of a faux-pas since we ended up in Napa – like bringing your own mustard to Dijon…). Though we didn’t know it, it turns out we were drinking his rosé the day he died. According to all accounts, that’s the way he would have wanted it.

Charlie – So long, and thanks for all the wine…. And everything else you’ve helped make possible. Yolo County, California – and we – would not be the same without you.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either the Charlie Rominger Farmland Preservation Fund, which has been established at the Yolo Land Trust, P.O. Box 1196, Woodland, CA 95776; or to the Winters Friends of the Library, in memory of Charlie Rominger, 201 First St., Winters, CA 95694.

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