Central Coast pioneer, Nicky Hahn, dies at 81

Soledad, Calif.—Nicolaus (Nicky) Hahn, founder of Hahn Family Wines and pioneer of California’s Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, died March 2 at his home in Zurich, Switzerland. He was 81 years old. According to an obituary released by the company, Hahn was a successful business man in Paris, New York and London. He arrived in Monterey County in the 1970s in search of a new area to transform into an acclaimed winemaking region. In 1979, he purchased the Smith Vineyard and Hook Vineyard, which were planted to Cabernet Sauvignon at the time. In 1988, Hahn rallied his neighbors on the eastern slopes of the Santa Lucia Mountains to firmly define and promote the quality and characteristics of the region. Their efforts were rewarded with American Viticultural Area (or AVA) status for the Santa Lucia Highlands in 1991. Earlier this year, he received Wine Enthusiast magazine’s “American Wine Pioneer” Wine Star Award for his essential role in establishing the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation. Nicky Hahn is survived by his wife, Gaby Hahn, and his two children, Philip Hahn and Caroline Hahn.

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