A Tribute to Wilson Daniels Co-Founder Winston “Win” Wilson Jr.
Winston “Win” Wilson Jr., Co-Founder of Wilson Daniels, will always be remembered as a devoted scholar, champion and patron of the global wine industry, as well as an instrumental actor in expanding fine wine’s reach to all corners of the world. From the New World of his home of northern California to the sprawling ancient vineyards of Europe and beyond, there was no facet of the world of oenology that did not influence his life and work.
Following his start in the burgeoning California wine industry in the late 1960s and building on his own experience as an entrepreneur in the wholesale wine market, Wilson left Cuvaison Estate to co-found Wilson Daniels with partner and fellow dedicated oenophile Jack Daniels in 1978. Together, their vision was established: to market and sell wine from the most famous regions and producers in the world.
Their company would help these wines and producers shine in foreign markets, and garner a more diverse and wide-reaching base of fans and collectors. On the sales end, Wilson encountered success with French wineries in just a few short years and quickly moved on to Italy’s formidable offerings — most notably the much-coveted Tuscan Brunello that continues to be prized by enthusiasts. Wilson Daniels’ imports have long been synonymous with the highest quality wines that define the luxury market, and the company’s collective base of in-depth knowledge — in no small part thanks to Wilson himself — has been educating its consumers in meaningful and memorable ways since day one.
As a result of this remarkable career, Wilson was awarded a long list of awards, titles and accolades, including Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, l’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne, Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin and perhaps most notably, Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole — awarded by the French Ambassador to the United States, François Bujon de l’Estang, for outstanding contributions to the world of French wine. With a portfolio that included some of the country’s most celebrated names, Wilson Daniels was well-poised to solidify its position as one of the industry’s most respected authorities on the intricacies of the global market and continue to fill consumers’ glasses with some of the best-reviewed wine ever produced.
From Burgundy to Champagne, Tuscany to Piedmont, California to Oregon and even terroir as underrepresented as Hungary and far-flung as New Zealand, Wilson’s mastery of varietals, technique and aging led to an uncommonly devoted following and fan base leading up to his death from esophageal cancer in 2006 at the age of 63.
Daniels spoke about the impact of his longtime partner’s career to Wine Enthusiast, saying, “Win’s extraordinary knowledge of wine, passion for the wine business and his zest for life were paramount to the success of Wilson Daniels.”
His legacy is firmly rooted within the company — a memorial to his enduring love for fine wine — and will continue to influence the wine world for decades to come.
May 24, 2018