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May 7, 2018 | 7:00 AM

Rod Smith, one of the first American newspaper and magazine writers specializing in fine wine, passed away on May 3.

Smith wrote for publications such as the the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and Wine & Spirits. He won two James Beard Awards for wine writing.

The following announcement was sent out by his family over the weekend: 

With heavy hearts, the family of Rod Smith announce his sudden passing on May 3, 2018.

A noted wine and travel writer, Rod was born in Portland, Oregon and grew up around the country with his family. He graduated from Pomona College and moved to San Francisco intent on becoming a writer. He became interested in wine just as Northern California wines were becoming world famous, and wrote about vintages and varietals for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, Wine & Spirits and other publications.

He published two books: Private Reserve: Beaulieu Vineyard and the Rise of the Napa Valley and The Art of Terroir: A Portrait of California Vineyards. He was also the recipient of a James Beard award for magazine writing in 2000.

Rod loved literature, art, music, nature and Giants baseball. He will be truly missed. He is survived by his wife Catherine, children Helen and Rocco, mother Anona, sister Terri, brother Brad and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday, May 9 at 2:00 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 209 Matheson St., Healdsburg. Reception to follow at the Bartolomei Ranch, 7000 Giovanetti Road, Forestville.

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