In Memoriam – Michael L. Williams, Wine Judge and Educator

Michael Lee Williams passed away peacefully May 14, 2013 after a long courageous battle with cancer.  A strong supporter of SHW, Michael judged at many of SHW’s Jubilee wine competitions and occasionally came to meetings.
D.D. Smith, most recently SHW’s Chief Judge, shares this remembrance of Michael:
“In all my time as Chief Judge, I don’t think I remember a single year that Michael wasn’t there. “There” was the SHW June Jubilee, and you could count on Michael Williams to be on panel A, B or C slogging it through club wines one by one. He was easy to spot; his trademark straw hat and generous pony tail outdone only by his sandy-haired countenance. He judged everywhere — commercial and home wines all over Northern California — and he knew his stuff. He had every right to pontificate; he was, after all, one of the best and most traveled of all the judges in the state. But what we got from Michael was a delicate humility — indeed, more of a solicitous attitude that invited engagement. He deeply appreciated wines and winemaking, though I’m not sure he made any wine himself. He was my number one choice as a panel judge, and he never let me down. He just soldiered the load and our reward — not that we ever expected one — was that in his opinion the Sacramento club was making the best darn wines of any club in California. He loved our club and supported us in full measure. We loved him, too — we made him an honorary member last year when, for the first time, he couldn’t answer our call.
So I ask you to hold Michael Williams gently in your thoughts today — we have lost a true friend.”