Ronald J. Fonté—founder and chairman of the consumer wine organization Les Amis du Vin (LADV)—died in his Louisville, Kentucky home on December 21 at the age of 64.
Less known to today’s wine-drinking public, Fonté was influential in wine circles in the 1980s. He organized LADV events, where members gathered in restaurants and nightclubs to sample rare, fine wines and meet with winemakers.
Fonté also published the widely popular magazine, The Friends of Wine, and enlisted famous contributors including Robert Mondavi, André Tchelistcheff, Harry Waugh, Stephen Tanzer, Joel Butler and Terry Theise to profile winemakers such as Gerard Jaboulet, Laura Mentzelopoulos and Pierre Lanson.
Respected throughout Europe and Australia, Mr. Fonté was charming and passionate, and has left an indelible mark on the wine industry.