Influential Wine Columnist Passes Away

From 1971 to 1987, Nathan L. Chroman‘s weekly LA Times wine column helped grow the nascent California wine industry. Not bad when you consider that spirits were purely a sideline interest for the Beverly Hills attorney, sparked by a book he casually picked up while studying for the California bar.

Per the LA Times obit, Chroman passed away last Friday at age 83 from post-polio syndrome, after contracting the disease when he was just 18. Other wine-related activities during his lifetime included teaching an extension course at UCLA and freelancing for other publications:

“Chroman was a market force in the Southland,” said Matt Kramer, a columnist for Wine Spectator magazine and wine critic for the Times for two years in the ’90s. “If he gave a winery a good review, things happened. He occupied a powerful seat because of the Times.”

Chroman’s career with the Times came to an abrupt end in 1987 when the paper’s media critic David Shaw questioned his seemingly too-close ties to the industry. The columnist denied he had ever allowed his opinion to be bought and in fact, in the obituary, his daughter Lucie Zimmerman says that at the time, family and friends were “outraged” by Shaw’s insinuations. RIP.

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