It was shocking to learn that Doug Roskelley, co-owner and winemaker of Tero Estates, died of a heart attack on Thursday, July 16 at the age of 71. He will be greatly missed. Our sympathy goes out to his wife, Jan, and son, Kyle. We got to know the Roskelleys in 2008 when we visited the winery near Milton-Freewater; Jan come down from the balcony to greet us. We have been friends ever since.
In 2007, the Roskelleys, with Mike Tembruell, purchased the Hendricks' Windrow Vineyard, first planted in 1981, with Bordeaux grapes - Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec. But Doug was a visionary who looked beyond the classic BDX varieties and planted blocks of Nebbiolo, the classic Piedmont grape, and Charbono, an ancient Savoie variety. The parent company, TR Wines, expanded its repertoire with the acquisition of the Waters and Flying Trout brands. All Doug's wines have been first-rate and have received high scores in the Review of Washington Wines. His winemaking and vision were first developed when he and John Bigelow in Woodinville made wine together.
The news of Doug's passing produced an outpouring of appreciation for his legacy which is bigger than life. As Jodi Rozonowski, the TR Wines Operations Manager, put it, under his "tough exterior was a heart of gold." It was Doug who encouraged Jodi and Josh Rozonowski to launch their own winery, Smoky Rose Cellars. Doug, who was also a contractor, helped John and Peggy Bigelow build their JM Cellars winery in Woodinville. There were many instances where Doug lent a helping hand. The Roskelleys also supported non profits and community events such as the Rypien Foundation, the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival and The Anatolian Shepherd Rescue Network. He worked with the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and the Oregon Winegrowers Association as well.
Lynn and I have warm memories of Doug - dinners with the Roskelleys, followed by Cognac and cigars, the fabulous TR Wines Holiday Dinners at the Marcus-Whitman, the vineyard Block Tours and more. Doug was always the generous and convivial host who took pride in his achievements, yet was modest. He will be missed, but never forgotten.