He was the kind of guy who was always happy to see you, who greeted everyone with an authentic smile and warm energy, whether an old friend or a brand-new customer at his wine-tasting room.

Outwardly he was a portrait of vigor, riding his mountain bike religiously, working his winery nonstop—with barely any help—and spending a lot of time with his wife and two kids.

He also made damn good Pinot Noir, and did good by not just Monterey County wines, but the people that make it go.

Those are just three of infinite reasons why word of Peter Figge's passing is so painful for so many.

He was found dead yesterday in Figge Cellars' Marina winery. He was 46.

Marina Police are investigating. Cmdr. Robert Nolan says there were no signs of a break-in or blunt-force trauma. The county coroner is running toxicology tests. 

Monterey County Vintners and Growers circulated this announcement midday Tuesday, June 6:

It is with tremendous sorrow that we share yesterday's passing of Peter Figge.

Peter was beloved by all who knew him and will be deeply missed.

We are heartbroken by this news. And hold his family in our thoughts and prayers.

We'll share any service details as we learn.

We will be postponing all social events this week, including the Growers Happy Hour and Varietal Tasting.

MCVGA is planning to dedicate its annual summer barbecue to him, giving everyone a chance to speak. 

There will be a lot of people speaking.

I recently spotlighted Miguel Lepe's upstart brand, an inspiring anomaly that wouldn't have happened without Figge's support and encouragement.

It serves as one small example of the many ways he looked to uplift others in general, and local wines in particular.

His Figge Cellars website echoes his character.

"We approach wine differently," it reads. "It starts with the name: Figge (“Fig-E”) doesn’t exactly say corporate, mass-marketed mega wine in vogue these days. That’s just not us...

"Figge is the brainchild and life’s work of winegrower Peter Figge, who flung the doors of the winery open in 2004. His passion for wine knows no bounds.

"That’s why he’s the grape grower, the winemaker, the bottler—you name it. Peter is involved in every last detail. Obsessive-compulsive? Maybe.

"He’s just that committed to doing whatever it takes to make sure the Figge bottle on your table is unforgettable, every time."

His wine was certainly memorable.

But it was Figge himself who is unforgettable.

(Look for more thoughts in this week's print issue, out June 8.)

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(2) comments

Steve Vo

[sad] Peter RIP. So shocking and sad to read this :(

JL Todd

How awful! So sad...

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