This past Wednesday (February 22nd) I received a call from Maurice Wedell of Wedell Cellars in part telling me he and his wife Suzie had travelled to Avila to learn how Archie McLaren was doing. They discovered he was weak, basically unconscious, and would pass on within a day or two. The afternoon of that phone call I learned that Archie had passed away the night before.
So the iconic, legendary Archie McLaren who founded the major wine event Central Coast Wine Classic 33 years ago in San Luis Obispo wine country left us while at home in Avila Beach.
I first met Archie when the PR person for the Classic event arranged for me to meet the Classic Founder at an upscale wine store in Pismo Beach, Taste of the Valleys. I arrived there a few minutes before our celebrity. When he arrived people throughout the store mobbed this smallish gent, wearing a beret gently on his head. After the greetings slowed down, he angled his walk towards me and we shook hands. We then moved to a table, had wine put before us and tasted, (picture is below) and chatted. I wanted to work with him, but the most timely suggestion I could offer was to write-up his Classic and send an email out to our crowd. We did. But ahead of any results, Archie invited me to the Classic.
Later that year Daily Ovation Publisher Joe Wehinger and I drove up to Avila Bay to attend the Central Coast Wine Classic. We saw the event’s boss (Archie) to say hi, and took our seats. I moved closer to say hi to some friends. Joe went off for just a moment in a different direction, and feeling comfortable in the protected area left his expensive, professional camera on the table. It was gone when he returned. Needless to say, everyone was surprised and disappointed. A few days later Archie inquired about the camera and then replaced Joe’s camera with a new one. A class act.
Archie was kind, generous, passionate and so much more. He will be missed.
RIP Archie McLaren