Brother Timothy Diener, a prominent and pioneering California vintner who was the winemaker for Christian Brothers for many years after the end of Prohibition, has died. He was 94.
Diener, who was born Anthony George Diener, died Tuesday at the Christian Brothers Mont La Salle novitiate in Napa, Calif.
He had retired in 1989 when the Brothers of the Christian Schools sold its wine- and brandy-making operation to the Heublein Fine Wine Group. Before that, Diener spent more than 50 years making wines, becoming an unlikely leader in shaping California's wine industry.
"He wasn't alone, but he certainly was one of the giants," said John De Luca, executive vice chairman of the San Francisco-based Wine Institute. "He was in the forefront of that whole renewal of reestablishing our image, reemerging from the extraordinary shadows of Prohibition."
Born in Elizabeth, N.J., in 1910, Diener began his career as a Christian Brother teaching high school chemistry in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1935, two years after the end of Prohibition, he became a wine chemist at Mont La Salle Vineyards in the Napa Valley.