Al Scheid Obituary, Death – When businessman Al Scheid joined the wine industry in 1972, Monterey County was hardly a blot on the American viticultural map, and the winemaking elites who dominated the day considered California’s grape farmers as second-class citizens. Today, Monterey County is home to some of the world’s most prestigious wineries. Now, half a century later, owing in large part to Scheid’s efforts, Monterey County cultivates more wine grapes than all but two of California’s counties, including the state’s greatest harvest of Pinot Noir.
In addition, Monterey County produces more Pinot Noir than any other county. And last, winemakers and vineyard owners are now on an equal footing, since they are both regarded partners as well as consumers. Heidi Scheid had this to say about her father, who passed away on March 31 at the age of 91: “My dad came as an outsider.” “But he gained a lot of respect because he wanted to make sure that the industry was strong, and [he] knew that it was extremely important that grape growers had a united voice in the discussion.
” Back in those days, running a company was a lot more shady endeavor. Growers were at the mercy of wineries, which created an imbalanced power dynamic. In 1974, not long after launching the firm that would later become Scheid Family Wines, Scheid joined the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) as one of the organization’s founding members. Jerry Fry, one of the other founding members of CAWG and the president and chief executive officer of Mohr-Fry Ranches in Lodi, says that “he really dove into helping CAWG accomplish so much for the winegrape grower.”
“He was an effective manager, and he volunteered an incredible amount of his time, not only during the time that he served on the board and as president, but also in the years that followed.” The perfect businessman never really retired, as shown by the fact that he continued to write emails and trade stocks up to the day he passed away. He even went so far as to attend the national sales convention that was held the year before. Heidi reminisces that her father would “drink everybody under the table” and then “be up telling stories to the last person.”
“He was never late for the 8 a.m. start the following morning, even when everyone else was groggy and sleepy. There’s my father, who is now 90 years old! Scheid had been given a diagnosis of throat cancer the previous year, and doctors had anticipated that he would only have four to six months to live when he passed away at his home in Pacific Palisades as he was resting quietly in his sleep. He was also keeping up with the most recent advancements in biotechnology and viticulture, as shown by the stacks of publications that Heidi discovered in his office.
He had been doing study on the several hospice care alternatives available to him in the future. She states that “That was the way he led his life to his very last day, just this insatiable curiosity about things,” and that “That was the way he led his life to his very last day.” “That’s the kind of person I want to be. You don’t let a single day go to waste.”