Celebrating the Life of Anthony J. Terlato

|Jul 1|magazine8 min read

LAKE BLUFF, Ill., July 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a statement from Terlato Wines:

It is with tremendous sorrow and sadness that we inform you of the passing of Anthony J. Terlato. Born May 11, 1934, in Brooklyn, Anthony (Tony) was an Italian American wine executive and chairman of Terlato Wines, a Lake Bluff, Illinois-based wine importer, producer, and marketer of fine wines. His career spanned more than 60 years in fine wine as a retailer, distributor, importer, vintner, winery, and vineyard owner.

Many knew Tony as "The Father of Pinot Grigio" for his early role in bringing the now-ubiquitous varietal to the American market in the late 1970s when it was practically unknown anywhere other than in Europe. Tony's enthusiastic promotion made it the first Italian wine sold outside of Italian restaurants. Tony has also been credited as a key figure in the shift in American wine tastes from mass-produced, sweet, fortified jug wines to the likes of classified-growth Bordeaux, top Italian estates, and the best wineries in California that are enjoyed by many today.

For his leading role in introducing fine Italian wines to America, Terlato was conferred the decoration of Cavaliere Ufficiale, Motu Proprio in 1984 by the President of the Italian Republic, Sandro Pertini – the first American in the wine industry to receive this decoration.

For his contributions to the advancement of fine wine, Anthony Terlato has been recognized by industry peers. In January 2003, Wine Enthusiast Magazine named Terlato "Man of the Year" and credited him with "changing the way Americans drink" by bringing quality Italian wines to the U.S. and in 2004, Terlato received the Distinguished Service Award from Wine Spectator joining an exclusive list of recipients:

But those closest to him knew Tony not only as a respected business leader but as a gifted athlete and fierce competitor, a professional and personal motivator, a passionate enthusiast of wine and food and above all, a tremendously proud husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

While his accomplishments are too numerous to list, his sole purpose in life was to provide a name and a legacy for his family that they could be proud of and he did so in spades. He also created a world-class organization for his family to manage and pass on for future generations.

At 86 years of age, Tony was still in the office every day, inspiring his team of colleagues -- whom he thought of as his extended family -- with new project concepts and innovative ideas. He was well known for pushing his team to the limits to inspire greatness and achieve their fullest potential and was fond of saying, "No excuses!" Over the years, he built many successful brands and provided guidance and assistance to so many in the industry.

This past weekend, Tony and his beloved wife of 65 years, Jo enjoyed a beautiful family get together at their home in Lake Geneva, accompanied by four generations of family. The days and evenings were filled with the love and joy that only family can bring.

Tony passed peacefully in his sleep Sunday night.

As a family, we know how truly fortunate we were to have him in our lives as long as we did. We only wish it could have been much longer.

A celebration of life ceremony will be announced in the coming weeks.

The family welcomes donations to one of Anthony's preferred organizations, to support the vital activities of The Eisenhower Health Foundation in Rancho Mirage, CA, which brings compassionate and quality health care services to all they serve.

Condolences and memories can be shared with the Terlato family by visiting www.anthonyterlato.com

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SOURCE Terlato Wines