PASSAGES: WINEMAKER WILLIAM JOHN HOLZHAUER, 1955-2014

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East County News Service

December 1, 2014 (Ramona) – William John Holzhauer, winemaker and co-owner of Hacienda de Las Rosas Winery,  died yesterday at his home in Ramona surrounded by his family and friends, after a long battle with cancer.  Holzhauer was known to many as the proprietor of the winery’s tasting room in Old Town and later, Ramona.

Teri Kerns, executive editor of the Ramona Valley Wine Region Magazine, remembered William Holzhauer as a “wonderful man and winery pioneer.” 

His wife and co-owner of the winery, Tammy Rimes Holzhauer, said the winery was William’s dream that began 15 years ago when the couple, living in La Mesa at the time, bought property in Ramona. William’s dream  was to create a winery based on a Spanish mission, also including Tammy’s passion, Peruvian horses.  “Drink fine wine, ride fine horses” became their motto.

In March 2013, that dream came to fruition with opening of the winery.  (See East County Magazine’s article, Dreams have come true at Hacienda de las Rosas.)

“Almost five years ago, William was diagnosed with cancer and told that he would have no more than a year left,” Tammy reveals in an e-mail to the winery’s customers. “However, in his usual fashion, he took that as a personal challenge and surpassed all the doctor’s estimates. During that time and due to much of his efforts, we operated a successful tasting room in Old Town, San Diego, became featured in USA Today, interviewed on several programs including the San Diego Opera, and were voted in a Reader's Poll as one of the top five wineries in San Diego County for 2014.” A few months ago, the couple closed the Old Town tasting room and moved all operations to their winery and tasting room in Ramona, fulfilling William’s final dream.

Tammy concludes, “William was bigger than life at times, and brought great joy to the lives of many. My children and I will continue his dream and look forward to many years ahead of serving customers in his winery - an amazing family legacy.  He was the love of my life, and an inspiration to many...he will truly be missed.”

A celebration of life party will be held on William Holzhauer’s birthday in January, and Tammy promises, that it “will be something that he would have liked.”