Wednesday, March 08, 2006

In Memory of Rodney Strong - Dancer Turned Winemaker

A farmboy raised in Washington state, he would eventually find himself on Broadway dancing in many of the great cities of the world. But even Broadway could not remove the soil that was deep in Strong's soul. That love of Washington's wild west soil eventually took him to Sonoma County to become a winemaker.

Through the years, Strong would say, "I knew I couldn't be an old dancer, but I would be an old winemaker.'' And that he did. He became one of Sonoma's best known winemakers - Rodney Strong Vineyards. Strong, along with his wife Charlotte, helped to define the wine country lifestyle - good food, fine wines and gracious living.

Strong credited his theatrical experiences in surviving the wine business. He claimed that the theater was a good preparation for rejection. His experiences in the theater and the wine business left him with a guiding philosophy. "... you are never going to please everybody, and if you try, it is the shortest route to mediocrity you will ever find,'' he said.

A wine career that lasted for four decades, Strong died Sunday, March 5 at the age of 78. A few decades short of the Washington state wine boom, I wish Rodney could have come back to the soil of his youth.

1 comment:

Leigh said...

We think it appropriate to toast a full life well lived with one of his Pinot Noirs.