The Walla Walla Valley wine industry mourned the sudden loss of Doug Roskelley after the Oregon winemaker died Thursday after a heart attack.
Roskelley, 71, of Milton-Freewater was well known in the Valley, and the wine industry in particular, after moving to Windrow Vineyard and establishing TERO Estates in 2007. The land is one of the oldest commercial vineyards in the Valley.
Doug and Jan Roskelley moved from Woodinville, Washington, where they were neighbors with their now business partners, Mike and Jude Tembreull.
Upon arriving in Milton-Freewater, they started TR Wines. Under the TR Wines brand, Roskelley and Tembreull also purchased Flying Trout Wines, Waters Winery and the 21 Grams label.
Roskelley’s dedication to the craft continued to enhance Oregon wine.
TR Wines Operations Manager Jodi Roznowski said under Roskelley’s “tough exterior was a heart of gold.”
“Doug was the most special man,” Roznowski said. “He cared more for everyone around him than himself — selfless and loyal, patient and endlessly kind.
“Since this has happened, I’ve heard so many stories and read so many comments by his friends, family, and those in the industry of how he made your day better with just a smile and a handshake or hug.”
Ashley Trout, who sold Flying Trout Wines to Roskelley, described him as a visionary.
“I think the beauty of the wine community in Washington state is that it attracts dreamers and risk-takers,” Trout said. “And Doug Roskelley was all of that and then some.
“He worked harder than anybody to achieve those big ideas. He not only had the big ideas but he took every step in order to turn those dreams into a reality.”
Former Don Carlo Vineyard owners Tim and Lori Kennedy said Roskelley was a leader in the local wine industry and that his guidance was one of the reasons wine took off in the Valley and on the Oregon side of the border.
The Kennedys wrote in an email that Roskelley tasted the finest wines around the globe to sharpen his palate and “you can see the results in every bottle he produced.” He passed on that knowledge to many within the industry and gave guidance on how to start and continue an estate winery.
The couple praised him for his efforts in supporting nonprofits and community events in the Valley.
Roskelley hosted the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival at his winery and even at his own home. He supported the Spokane-based Mark Rypien Foundation to help support families battling childhood cancer, the Milton-Freewater Chamber of Commerce, humane societies, and the National Anatolian Shepherd Rescue Network.
Jan Roskelley has requested people give donations in Doug’s name to the Anatolian Shepherd Rescue Network in lieu flowers or gifts — online at ubne.ws/nasrn.
Roskelley also was involved with the Oregon Winegrowers Association, Oregon Wine Board and Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance for many years.
Herring Groseclose Funeral Home of Walla Walla is handling arrangements. A celebration of life is planned for the near future.
Doug Roskelley is survived by his wife; son, Kyle Roskelley; and sister, Pat Clark.