Hill Parks Redwine II, one of the founders of the Georgia Trustees Wine Challenge died of cancer Sunday, June 3, in Atlanta, at the age of 70.
Redwine’s ancestors helped establish Farmers and Merchants Bank of Fayetteville, Ga., in 1906. Its assets reportedly were valued at $100 million when it was sold in 1989 to Barnett Banks, which ultimately became part of Bank of America a decade later.
Rather than pursue a career in the banking industry, Redwine’s literary ability and knowledge of wine led him to contributing a wine column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 1976 to 1981. During that time, he began to judge wine competitions throughout the world, a résumé that included the Los Angeles County Fair, the International Wine Challenge in Bordeaux, the Orange Wine Fair in the Rhône Valley and the Oregon State Fair.
The obscure red grape Cabernet Pfeffer (reputedly an obscure old Bordeaux variety called Gros Verdot) captured Redwine’s attention enough to prompt him to own tiny Pfenix Winery in San Miguel, Calif. Redwine would enthuse about the grape variety, its vineyard sourcing and his pet project that spanned just a few vintages. Production was minuscule, yet he offered generous pours to anyone interested in experiencing his wine.
Since 1990, Redwine served as President of the Atlanta Improvement Co., a cleverly named company founded in 1978 licensed to import wine, beer and spirits, and his global connections helped him with his wine competitions. They included the VinoChallenge International in Atlanta. Before his death, Redwine handed the reins of his import business to Michelle Schreck, vice president of sales for the Atlanta Improvement Co.
Redwine, who routinely carried a copy of his birth certificate in his wallet to prove the origin of his name, founded the NorthWest Wine Summit in 1996, an event he staged for most of its history at Timberline Lodge on Oregon’s Mount Hood. Redwine grew the NorthWest Wine Summit competition to include wine, cider, sake and spirits produced in Alberta, Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Saskatchewan, Washington and Wyoming.
He began struggling with his health this spring. He was hospitalized in British Columbia and again in Oregon while staging the two legs of his international Northwest judging. Redwine died on the same day as his late wife’s birthday. Earlier this year, his wife of 45 years, Emily died at the age of 69 after suffering with Alzheimer’s for several years. They are survived by two sons.