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Olive Oil and Wine Pioneer Raul Castellani Has Died

The sudden passing of Raul Cesar Castellani leaves the wine and olive oil worlds with good memories, important events and ample knowledge.

Raul Cesar Castellani
Sep. 15, 2016
By Alexis Kerner
Raul Cesar Castellani

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Raul Cesar Castel­lani passed away yes­ter­day, Sep­tem­ber 14, from an unex­pected heart attack at age 71. As the news spread through­out the wine and olive oil com­mu­ni­ties of his pass­ing, words that describe him are repeated: father, friend and a great men­tor.

Meet­ing Raul was a gift. Tell him your ideas and pas­sions and he would find a way to nur­ture them, guide you in the right direc­tion and con­nect you to the right peo­ple. He also pos­sessed a high level of patience, dig­nity and humil­ity that helped wine and olive oil tasters around the world become even bet­ter. He had an excep­tional way of mak­ing all of those around him feel as if they were uniquely spe­cial.

Although Raul was hum­ble, he was one of the top wine experts in the world. Inter­na­tional Wine & Spirit named him one of the Top 12 wine experts. He was first in Latin Amer­ica and only sec­ond in Amer­ica.

His largest con­tri­bu­tion to the wine world was his exten­sive knowl­edge of Men­doza wines from his home­land, Argentina. We can only be grate­ful that he leaves us many books writ­ten on the sub­ject such as The Art of Wine Tast­ing,” Wines and Gas­tron­omy with Love and Humor” and The Great­est Argen­tinean Wines.”

Raul was not only an expert; he was a great con­trib­u­tor to both the wine and olive oil sec­tors. Dur­ing his life­time he won awards from around the world and gave us sem­i­nars like The His­tory of a Dif­fer­ent Men­doza: Men, Women and Wine.” And Wine for Queens.”

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It did not stop there. He was also a cre­ator and orga­nizer of a myr­iad of events and com­pe­ti­tions.

This June, as pres­i­dent of Ter­rao­livo, Raul orga­nized the competition´s inter­na­tional tast­ing panel that judged hun­dreds of sam­ples from around the world.

In August, Raul over­saw four of his com­pe­ti­tions in Argentina: Vinus, Oliv­i­nus, Oliv­i­nus niños, and Oliv­i­nus Design. Vinus, has become one of the most impor­tant wine com­pe­ti­tions in the world. The Oliv­i­nus olive oil com­pe­ti­tion has also been rec­og­nized for its impor­tance and its off­shoot, Oliv­i­nus Niños, is a com­pe­ti­tion where chil­dren under the age of 14 are the judges.

This win­ter, Raul would have cel­e­brated the 20th Anniver­sary of La Mujer Elige (The Woman Chooses). He began the com­pe­ti­tion in recog­ni­tion of role of women in choos­ing wines and cre­at­ing mar­kets. Accord­ing to Raul, women sel­dom made a mis­take in choos­ing the best wine.

He leaves inspired and well-pre­pared indi­vid­u­als to carry on his legacy and to ensure his com­pe­ti­tions and events will not cease.


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