The wine industry lost a legend this week.
Hubert Opici, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, died peacefully yesterday, surrounded by his family. He was 102 years old.
Born on March 13, 1916, Opici was raised in Wyckoff, NJ, by his parents, Joseph and Esther Opici. After graduating from Ramsey High School (NJ) in 1934, Opici joined his family’s small wine business — the American Beverage Distribution Company of New Jersey — as a delivery boy. Opici put his wine career on hold to volunteer for the Armed Forces in 1942, but returned to the family business several years later.
Through his leadership and passion for wine, the company grew by leaps and bounds into what is now the Opici Wine Group, an importer and distributor of an international portfolio of wines and spirits.
Opici is widely recognized as an icon in the wine industry and was named “American Wine Legend” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2014. Known by those in the industry as “Mr. O,” Opici would visit with accounts and suppliers. Donning his signature flat cap, he was always ready to share a bottle of Gavi di Gavi and a piece of tiramisu.
Opici enjoyed listening to Frank Sinatra and reading the NYT and WSJ every morning, and shared a great love with his wife of 65 years, the late Rose Marie Opici. The two were inseparable and enjoyed traveling the world, dining out, dancing and spending time with their family.
Known to his family as “Papa,” Hubert is survived by his daughter Linda Opici; his grandchildren, Dina Opici and Don Opici; and four great grandchildren – Julia, James, Luca and Logan.
A wake will be held on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at Taylor & Modeen Funeral Home in Jupiter, FL, from 4 – 7 p.m. A private funeral service will take place on Friday, September 14, 2018. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the WSWA Educational Foundation.