Diamond Creek founder Adelle ‘Boots’ Brounstein dies

Adelle “Boots” Brounstein, cofounder of iconic Napa Valley winery Diamond Creek and a colourful character in the Napa wine community, has died aged 92.

Adelle Boots Brounstein, founder of Diamond Creek, has died

As reported byWine Spectator, Brounstein, who went by her childhood nickname of “Boots”, died on 31 July following a brief illness.

Brounstein founded Diamond Creek south of Calistoga with her husband Al in the late 1960s, and the pair were ahead of their time in their focus on single vineyard Cab.

Diamond Creek boasts four vineyards: Volcanic Hill, Red Rock Terrace, Gravelly Meadow and Lake, and is a benchmark for long-aged Napa Valley Cabernet.

Boots continued to oversee the day-to-day operations at the estate following Al’s death in 2006, helped by her son Phil Ross, who joined the company in the ‘90s.

“Mom was the heart of Diamond Creek. What she and Al did as pioneers, helping to bring the French idea ofterroir to the Napa Valley, was extraordinary, perhaps only exceeded by the great work she did over the past decade since Al’s passing to maintain Diamond Creek’s renowned place in the wine world,” Ross said.

Born in Oakland on 25 February 1927, Boots grew up in LA, where she met pharmaceutical wholesaler Al Brounstein on a blind date in the ‘60s.

Having become besotted with French wine after taking a wine course at UCLA, Al introduced Boots to the joys of wine, which quickly became a passion.

Keen to run their own wine estate, in 1967 the pair stuck upon a 70-acre property on Diamond Mountain, which they bought. Soon after they got married.

The pair planted 22-acres of predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varieties on the advice of consultant André Tchelistcheff.

Adelle and her husband Al founded Diamond Creek in the ’60s

Focusing on single vineyard wines from their four sites from the get-go, the Brounstein’s first bottled vintage was 1972.

It would be 15 years until they made a profit. Undeterred, Diamond Creek was the first Napa winery to charge US$100 for its Cabernet. The pair kept the operation small, producing just 2,000 cases of wine a year.

“Ours is a story of inspiration and aspiration,” Brounstein told Wine Spectator.

The estate, which is known for its dense, structured, ageworthy Cabs, has had just two winemakers since it was founded.

Outside of wine Boots raised millions for Parkinson’s disease research through a charity event she started with Al called Diamonds in the Rough.

She is survived by her sons Phil and Chuck, her stepson Gary, her sisters Renee and Janice, and seven grandchildren. Details for a memorial service held in Napa to celebrate her life will be announced soon.

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