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Rhone Rangers to Honor Bill Easton with Lifetime Achievement Award

Posted on May 17, 2016

May 16, 2016 (Paso Robles, CA) – The Rhone Rangers organization will present its fourth annual Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday, June 10, 2016. Bill Easton will be recognized for his significant contributions to the American Rhone wine movement, which he has helped champion for over 35 years. Since founding his wine shop Solano Cellars in the East Bay in 1978 and later starting his own Rhone-centric brand, Terre Rouge, he has been instrumental in bringing attention and credibility to the American Rhone wine category.

“Bill is a true pioneer,” said Rhone Rangers board member Stuart Montgomery. “He was present at the some of the first discussions in starting the organization and today helps the association - leading by example and making beautiful Rhone wines. We’re honored to recognize him for his efforts.”

Easton, along with his wife Jane O’Riordan, founded his winery in 1985 on the West Slope of the Sierra Nevada in Amador County’s Shenandoah Valley after traveling Europe and falling in love with Northern Rhone wines. Recognized as one of the pioneers of Amador’s modern winemaking era, Easton was involved in early gatherings of the Rhone Rangers and continues to promote American Rhone wines. His Terre Rouge (translates to Red Earth) wines are named after the vermillion-colored soils that are a hallmark of the Sierra Foothills region. The Terre Rouge portfolio is dedicated to producing Rhone varietals grown in the region’s granite and volcanic-based soils. His complex Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne are grown at elevations as high as 3200’.

Asked about any advice he has to offer young people wanting to get into the wine industry, Easton responded, “Taste a lot of wine both young and old; visit as many wine regions in the world that you can and work in different winemaking environments. Make wine that tastes good to you and not just wine that is commercially viable -- don’t sell out.”

Easton has been a longtime supporter of the Rhone Rangers organization, having made numerous contributions to auctions and supporting the scholarship program. In prior years the Lifetime Achievement award was given to Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard, Robert Haas of Tablas Creek Vineyard and Robert Lindquist of Qupé Winery.

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Easton on Friday, June 10, 2016at the Rhone Rangers Annual Winemaker Dinner at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio, San Francisco. The dinner is part of a two-day Annual Celebration of American Rhone Wines. Tickets can be purchased for just the dinner, or a full weekend pass that includes Saturday’s Syrah seminar moderated by Sunset wine editor Sara Schneider followed by the trade/media, VIP and Grand Tasting, which will feature over 60 wineries. To purchase tickets or obtain additional information, visit www.rhonerangers.org.

About the Rhone Rangers

The Rhone Rangers are a group of roughly 150 wineries dedicated to making wines from the 22 grape varieties originally made famous in France’s Rhone Valley. These varieties range from the better-known Syrah and Viognier to the up-and-coming Grenache, Mourvèdre and Roussanne, to obscure (but delicious) grapes like Counoise and Picpoul. To learn more, visit www.rhonerangers.org.

Job Function: Winemaking

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