Legendary Napa Valley vintner John Shafer dies at 94

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Northern California vintner and philanthropist John Shafer has died at the age of 94.

He was part of a generation of vintners that transformed the sleepy Napa Valley into a region known the world over for its stellar wines.

Shafer Vineyards announced Monday that its founder died Saturday in Napa. A cause of death was not released.

Shafer was born Oct. 11, 1924 and grew up largely in Glencoe, Illinois, a small suburb outside Chicago. He volunteered for service in World War II before moving into publishing.

He was 48 when he moved his family to California and purchased a hillside vineyard well past its prime. But he saw promise in the soil and in 1978 he produced the first Shafer Vineyards wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon.

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