January 2, 2009

Vineyard owner Christian Wölffer killed by boat

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Christian Wölffer, owner of Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, was hit and killed by a boat while he was swimming in Brazil on New Year's Eve, the winery said Friday.

Wölffer, 70, was on vacation and was hit by the boat while swimming in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian news reports said the boat's propeller cut a deep wound in his chest.

A native of Hamburg, Germany, Wölffer was fluent in six languages and had business interests from the Far East to South America in investment banking, venture capital, real estate, agriculture and entertainment parks.

In 1978, he purchased Sagpond Farm, a 14-acre parcel with a farmhouse surrounded by potato fields in Sagaponack. He invested more than $15 million in his South Fork winemaking venture, expanding his holdings to more than 170 acres including his 55-acre Wölffer Estate Vineyard as well as his home, stables, and grazing land for his thoroughbred horses.

Wölffer began his business career in 1955, at age 17, as a trainee at a bank.

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Source: News Day

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