Raul Cesar Castellani

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.”

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.