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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.

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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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