One generation knew him as the coonskin cap-wearing Davy Crockett in a series of Disney-produced television features.
Others recognized him for his role in the iconic television series, “Daniel Boone.”
He also appeared in several movies, including the classic “Old Yeller.”
But for the past 20 years, thousands of wine lovers have come to appreciate him for his winemaking skills – or, to be more precise, the winemaking skills of his son, Eli.
But now, he is gone.
Fess Parker died yesterday of natural causes at his home in California. He was 85.
It was in 1989 that Parker and his family became next-door – or, perhaps, “next-ranch” would be more accurate – neighbors of Michael Jackson in Santa Barbara County’s Santa Ynez Valley.
There, they planted grapes and opened a winery, which quickly became known for its array of exceptional bottlings, several of which have been featured by the wine clubs of Vinesse through the years.
On the day the winery opened, visitors were greeted just outside the front entrance by Parker himself, sitting on a stool. As the customers emerged from the tasting room with their purchases in hand, Parker signed and personalized countless bottles.
Over time, additional varieties and brands were added to the winery’s portfolio, as Fess Parker Winery became one of the “must-see” wine estates in California’s Central Coast wine country.
In 2004, the winery was featured in the movie “Sideways,” depicted as the “Frass Canyon” winery.