Winston “Win” Wilson, 1943 – 2006


Winston “Win” Wilson Jr., co-founder of Napa Valley-based Wilson Daniels Ltd., gifted athlete, musician and philanthropist lost his battle with esophageal cancer on July 16th at age 63. 

After years of touring with his band, the “Fog Cutters”, Wilson became ensconced in the world of wine and spirits, working for companies such as E&J Gallo and Young’s Market Company in California.

In 1971, Win started his own wine wholesale company called J.M. Winston Company with longtime friend Jim Mindling.  While working for Cuvaison Winery in 1976, Win met Jack Daniels, then marketing and sales director for Chappellet Vineyards. Two years later, Wilson Daniels, Ltd., a Napa Valley-based company specializing in wine sales and marketing, was born.

Over the years, Win focused on selling wines while Daniels concentrated on marketing and operations. In 1979, Win and Jack were approached by Lalou Bize-Leroy and Aubert de Villaine, co-directors of the highly regarded Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which became their first imported winery in January 1980. Other notable members of the present import portfolio include Domaine Leflaive, Domaine Dujac, Maison Faiveley and Domaine Pierre Morey in Burgundy, Domaine Kreydenweiss in Alsace, Delamotte and Salon in Champagne, Tenimenti Angelini and Mastroberardino in Italy, Kumeu River and Felton Road in New Zealand, Wirra Wirra and Grant Burge in Australia and Royal Tokaji Wine Company in Hungary.

Daniels said, “Win’s extraordinary knowledge of wine, passion for the wine business and his zest for life were paramount to the success of Wilson Daniels.”

In 2000, Win became involved with the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF). A top fundraiser for the foundation, Win was diagnosed with cancer in 2004. 

Win is survived by his wife, Maura; his stepchildren, Kendall, 19, and Logan, 15; his sister, Elizabeth Cody; and his nephew, Jay Cody, Jr.

A memorial reception for family and friends will be held in his honor on Tuesday, August 1, 2006, at 5:30 p.m., at Wilson Daniels Ltd. Wilson Daniels is located at 1201 Dowdell Lane, St. Helena, CA 94574. Phone: (707) 967-1840.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Win’s name to the Lance Armstrong Foundation (Tax ID # 742806618). Wilson Daniels Ltd. is managing the submissions of donations to the LAF on behalf of Win’s family. All donations should be sent to the attention of Kathy Perrelli at Wilson Daniels Ltd. (address noted above).

Published on July 21, 2006

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