Who Should Be Added to the Vintners Hall of Fame in 2012?

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when a few writers, historians, journalists, and winemakers and yours truly (the token blogger?) get together to discuss who should go on the ballot for the next class of inductees to the Beckstoffer, Randall Grahm, Gerald Asher, Daryl Corti, Sara Schneider, Charles Sullivan, Charles Henning, Paul Wagner, Warren Winiarski, and our chairman, W. Blake Gray.

I wrote about the process and the Hall last year and was quite surprised at the amount of interest there was among my readers. Given the significant number of suggestions that I received based on that blog post, all of whom I brought to the nominating committee for consideration, I thought I’d do the same again this year.

The Vintner’s Hall of Fame is now in its sixth year, and we’ve got a pretty solid list of inductees, to which we added last year the following members:

Dick Graff
Joel Peterson
August Sebastiani
Vernon Singleton
Bob Trinchero

They joined the following existing members of the Hall (whose names are followed by the year they were inducted):

Leon Adams, 2010
Gerald Asher, 2009
Maynard Amerine, PhD, 2007
Andy Beckstoffer, 2010
Frederick and Jacob Beringer, 2009
Brother Timothy, 2007
Al Brounstein, 2010
Darrell Corti, 2008
John Daniel, Jr. 2008
Jack and Jamie Davies, 2009
Georges de Latour, 2007
Paul Draper, 2008
Ernest and Julio Gallo, 2008
Randall Grahm, 2010
Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, 2008
Agoston Haraszthy, 2007
Jess Stonestreet Jackson, 2009
Charles Krug, 2007
Zelma Long, 2010
Louis P. Martini, 2008
Carol Meredith, PhD, 2009
Justin Meyer, 2009
Robert Mondavi, 2007
Gustave Niebaum, 2007
Harold Olmo, PhD, 2007
Andrè Tchelistcheff, 2007
Carl Heinrich Wente, 2008
Warren Winiarski, 2009

As the nominating committee we try hard to make sure that we are inducting people into the “Pioneer” category (those that have been deceased for more than 10 years) and also to make sure we have living members as well (who get to appreciate the honor a bit more directly).

So the question is, who should be added to the ballot (which is sent to several hundred wine writers around the country) this year? I’d like your suggestions, with a quick caveat: please tell me WHY you think they ought to be on the ballot. Just throwing out a list of names is pretty useless. We’ve got a list hundreds long. What we need are clear justifications why someone deserves to be given more consideration than someone else.

In short, and this is the question that we are putting to ourselves as nominating committee this year, who is the one person not in the Vintners Hall of Fame who most deserves to be?

I look forward to your suggestions and your justifications.