Christian Wolffer (right), 70, a Long Island, NY, wine pioneer and owner of Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, died New Year's Eve while swimming in Brazil.
The O Globo newspaper said Wolffer was swimming in Paraty, near Rio de Janeiro, while on vacation when a boat's propeller or propellers cut two deep wounds in his back. He was rescued by Brazilian actor Rodrigo Hilbert and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
His company Web site gives this background for the German-born entrepreneur:
"The quintessential entrepreneur, Hamburg-born Christian Wölffer is a master at managing an array of international enterprises. His career encompasses investment banking, venture capital, real estate, agriculture, and entertainment parks. In the wine realm, Wölffer Estate Vineyard is a labor of love and the realization of a lifelong dream.
"Wölffer’s career began in post-war Hamburg at age 17 as a trainee at a bank and then at an import/export company. He later moved to Mexico with the German chemical company BASF to manage their sales force, followed by a position with Intergráfica in Mexico managing sales throughout South America. Moving to Canada in 1971, he established a real estate brokerage and eventually segued into real estate development. He then moved to the U.S., to found Euro Investors, Inc., a venture capital company that finances a variety of enterprises in Hawaii and Florida. He now holds investments in Argentina, as well as throughout the U.S.A.
"This accomplished businessman is most at home at his Eastern Long Island retreat in the heart of the Hamptons. He purchased the land in 1978 as a 14-acre parcel with a farmhouse surrounded by potato fields. By 1987, Christian Wölffer had founded his vineyard near this very site.
"In 1997, Wölffer completed work on his state-of-the-art winery, unquestionably the most stylish on Long Island. The rustic, Tuscan-style building, with its warm ochre walls, is set on a rise overlooking the vineyards to the east and the gently rolling Hamptons landscape to the west. The winery and vineyards were renamed Wölffer EstateVineyard and a legacy in Long Island winemaking was born.
"Now 20 years later, Wölffer’s one-time weekend getaway on the East End’s South Shore embraces more than 170 acres and includes his acclaimed 55-acre Wölffer Estate Vineyard as well as his home, stables, and grazing land for his thoroughbreds. The 100-acre Wölffer Estate Stables, an extraordinary equestrian center used for schooling, breeding, year-round boarding and instruction, is an 80-stall facility with the largest indoor riding field on the East Coast. Wölffer Estate Vineyard & Stables is also one of the sponsors of the annual Hampton Classic Horse Show, a world-class equestrian event held in nearby Bridgehampton."
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