It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Al Scheid, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Scheid Family Wines, at the age of 91. Alfred G. Scheid, known as “Al” to everyone, died peacefully at his home in Pacific Palisades, CA, on Friday, March 31, 2023.
Al came from humble beginnings but went on to lead an extraordinary life. He was raised in the coal-mining town of Bridgeport, OH, during the Depression, an upbringing he wrote about in his memoir Breaking Out of Beerport, published in 2014. Al served in the U.S. Navy and put himself through college by working a variety of jobs, then went on to earn his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Through a combination of street smarts, innate intelligence and sheer nerve, Al founded Scheid Family Wines in 1972, then known as “Monterey Farming Corporation.” At the time he knew little about wine, but through his own determination he became a pioneer in the Monterey grape-growing region, an industry leader and an ardent supporter of wines from California. Al was a founder of the California Association of Winegrape Growers in 1974, serving as Chairman and long-time board member; he was named its Leader of the Year in 2017. Under Al’s leadership, we have evolved from a grape grower to a wine company producing close to 1 million cases of wine annually and we are still a family-run business with two of Al’s children, Scott and Heidi Scheid, at the helm.
Al’s family and friends remember him as a highly intelligent, honest and generous man with a quick wit and incredible memory. He was a natural entertainer and consummate storyteller. Every person who knew Al knows an Al story. Up until his death at 91 years of age, he could recall details from his youth, every deal he ever did, and meetings that happened years before, all in hilarious detail.
Al closed his memoir with the following quote by Leo Tolstoy: “All, everything I understand, I understand because I love.” He did indeed love. And he was very much loved in return.
To honor Al’s memory, donations may be made to Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley directed towards BEAF (Bridgeport Educational Assistance Foundation), 1226 Chapline Street, Wheeling, WV 26003 or online at Bridgeport Educational Assistance Foundation: Bridgeport Educational Assistance Foundation (fcsuite.com)