Charles Myers, a figurehead of Sacramento winemaking both as a home winemaker and owner of Harbor Winery, died Tuesday. According to family members, Myers passed away from natural causes. He was 85.
As a home winemaker in the early 1960s, Myers was an early champion of grapes grown in Amador County. He established West Sacramento’s Harbor Winery in 1972, focusing on grapes from the greater Sacramento area. In turn, Myers influenced vintners from other regions to source their grapes from the Amador area.
“He was the person who invented Amador County,” said grocer and wine expert Darrell Corti. “If it wasn’t for his 1964 zinfandel, Sutter Home never would have gone to Amador to buy zinfandel.”
Myers and his Harbor Winery also served as a key inspiration for a new generation of Sacramento winemakers, including Craig Haarmeyer of Revolution Wines. As a winemaker, Myers was known for a light touch, hoping to express the grapes in a fairly natural essence. Harbor Winery produced a variety of wines, including merlot, syrah, zinfandel and a sweet dessert wine called “Mission del Sol.” Barrels used in the 1986 vintage of Mission del Sol were recently used to barrel a whiskey crafted between Corti and Amador Distillery.
“He wanted to have the grapes say the most they could say about themsleves,” said Corti. “He didn’t believe in using a lot of trickiness. He was the non-interventionist winemaker.”
Myers was preceded in death by brother Don “Fritz” Myers. He is survived by his sister Carolee, children Chris Myers (Noi), Sara Myers and Margaret Myers (Anthony Passarell), eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Services will be held at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon on April 17 at 11:30.