A titan of the Long Island wine industry has died.
Ronald Goerler Sr. passed away at the age of 95 at his home on Aug. 30 in Cutchogue, Newsday reported. Goerler founded Jamesport Vineyards in Suffolk County in 1980, marking the fifth winery in North Fork, which now has several dozen.
Goerler founded his winery while running a family plumbing supply business; Crest/Good Manufacturing Company is still in the family, run by his son, Philip. Meanwhile, the winery is being run by another son, Ronald Jr., and his wife, Joanne.
Goerler became interested in grape farming in 1980 after visiting North Fork and purchased Early Rising Farm, where he planted vines. He went on to acquire North Fork Winery, leading to the additions of a tasting room and later, a bistro.
The businessman studied engineering at Cornell before enlisting in the Army Air Forces and serving as a pilot near the end of World War II. He ultimately graduated from Adelphi and earned a law degree from the University of Miami Law School.
Goerler is survived by five sons, a daughter, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, according to an obituary published in The Suffolk Times.
[Newsday] — Holden Walter-Warner