Robert G. Gottesman
If Longworth is the Father of Ohio Wine, this gentle man was certainly the industry's "fairy Godmother".
Born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania in 1918, Robert G. Gottesman, became a resident of New York City when he was hired by Schenley Industries. In 1957, after a successful sales career, Gottesman moved to Cleveland where he and his partner, Louis Zeller, purchased Paramount Distillers, Inc.
Gottesman's interest in the wine industry began with Paramount's 1976 acquisition of Meier's Wine Cellars in Cincinnati. Since then, he expanded the company's holdings with the purchase of 400 acres on North Bass Island, two hundred of which were devoted to vineyards.
Firelands Winery in Sandusky and Mon Ami Wine Cellars in Port Clinton were acquired in 1980.
Today, paramount is the largest grower and producer of wines and juices in the state of Ohio.
Gottesman's ambitious entry into the wine industry has been credited with sparking a renaissance in Ohio winemaking and his planting of some of the state's first vinifera grapes bore testimony to his confidence in the future of fine Ohio wines.
In 1994, he brought honor to all of us by being the first member of the Ohio wine industry to be inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame in recognition of his role in revitalizing the states grape and wine industry.
He was a founding member of the Ohio Wine Producers Association. He initiated the legislation that created the Ohio Grape Industries Committee, which has become a model for similar programs in at least eight other states. He was a tireless crusader for our industry working nearly to the very day he died.
Perhaps most importantly, his personal enthusiasm, crusty good humor, his vision, business savvy, passion for our industry and his friendship touched nearly everyone in the industry -- shaping us, nurturing and inspiring us all to be better winemakers and better human beings.