Aron Hess (1967–2013)
Winemaker and wine industry consultant Aron Franklin Hess, 45, was found lying on the floor at his home in Dundee on Tuesday, Jan. 15. Unresponsive, he could not be revived and was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene.
His former wife, Pam Walden, said an autopsy failed to reveal a cause of death. A toxicology analysis has been requested, but results aren’t expected for several weeks, she said.
Hess was born in Palo Alto, Calif., April 5, 1967. He attended Pennsylvania State University, earning a degree in political science. He worked at several prominent Oregon wineries over the course of his career. After serving stints as head winemaker at Rex Hill Vineyards and 12th & Maple Wine Co., he teamed with Walden to found Daedalus Cellars in Dundee and develop the Daedalus and Jezebel brands. She now owns and operates the winery under the auspices of Willful Wine Co.
Since 2010, Hess had worked as a winemaker or winemaking consultant for a number of clients, including Anam Cara Cellars, Longplay Wines and Utopia Vineyard. According to Utopia owner Daniel Warnshuis, the two of them were in the final stages of preparing to launch a new venture called D & A Wines.
Hess is survived by sons Sampson, 9, and Cato, 6, parents Ron Hess of Pennsylvania and Barbara Skipworth of Oregon, sister Nina Hess of Portland and brother Terry Hess of Pennsylvania.
A memorial service was held Jan. 27 at Sineann/Medici Vineyards in Newberg.