January 15, 2009
Long Island Wine Council Mourns loss of President
The Long Island Wine Council is profoundly saddened by the passing of its President, Robert Palmer, owner of Palmer Vineyards, on Thursday night at the age of 74. Palmer was one of the pioneers of the Long Island wine industry, launching his vineyard in 1983. He had been President of the Long Island Wine Council since 2005.
The region had already been mourning the recent loss of another industry icon, Christian Wolffer, who passed away as a result of a boating accident in Brazil on New Year’s Eve.
Robert Palmer was well known in advertising circles for building RJ Palmer Media Services, the company he launched in 1979, into the tenth largest media planning agency in the world with clients like Arm & Hammer, Siemens AG, and 1 800 Flowers.
At the same time, he achieved a growing stature in the wine world. Palmer Vineyards doubled in size from 60 acres at its inception to 120 acres in two locations on the North Fork of Long Island, and its wines became more widely distributed in New York City and across the country. He became a recognized leader in the wine industry, serving as a Board member of Wine America, as well as in New York State as a board member of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. Palmer also actively applied his marketing expertise to help promote tourism to Long Island, serving on the Board of the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau from 2004.
Palmer was elected by fellow winery owners to lead the Long Island Wine Council in 2005 and was re-elected for another two-year term in 2007. Under his leadership, the Council’s membership, resources and stature grew in parallel with the industry. Bob Palmer was an essential part of this success. He not only brought a career of experience in marketing and promotion, but his understanding and sensitivity to the diverse needs and objectives of members combined with a personable management style enabled the Council to embark on a range of new initiatives and activities.
The Long Island Wine Council coordinates promotional activities for the region's wine industry, which produced some 500,000 cases valued at over $100 million in 2008. Founded in 1989, the Council currently has 43 full members with a total of 3000 acres under cultivation.