Wine industry leader Maria Stuart has died at 56


Maria Stuart.

Maria Stuart, co-owner of R. Stuart & Co. Winery, who was instrumental in the international celebration of pinot noir, died Wednesday after a 20-month battle with cancer. She was 56 years old.

Arrangements are under the direction of the funeral directors of Macy & Son. The family is planning services for a later date.

Stuart was the Executive Director of IPNC, which started in 1987. She ran the event, which attracts wine lovers from around the world, until the late 1990s.

She and her husband, Rob, have won numerous awards over the years for their Granary District winery, Third Street tasting room, and community service.

The winery was named “Business of the Year” at the McMinnville Downtown Association’s 2012 awards ceremony. MDA executives said the Stuarts were “heavily involved in the community … volunteering at many events and donating to others ”.

Maria Stuart has served on the Board of Directors of Visit McMinnville since its formation in 2015. She was one of the organizers of the “Live on Third: Celebrate the Arts” event in 2001.

In 2003, as an active member of McMinnville First Baptist Church, she helped organize the local segment of a global event for peace. The “Global Village” was dedicated to “building a positive world for children”.

Stuart, a mother of three, has been involved with the McMinnville Education Foundation for many years. She has organized numerous fundraisers, such as the annual “Starry Night” events.

She was also active at Linfield University for many years, including when her son, Joe, was a student.

The school honored her in 2015 with the Walker Service Award, which recognizes a non-alum who has positively impacted the university. His contributions included volunteering on the Linfield Business Advisory Board, hiring students and alumni at the R.Stuart Tasting Room, and organizing graduate and parent events.

“She was a charming and gracious person; the ultimate hostess, ”said Debbie Harmon Ferry, Alumni Relations Manager at Linfield. “She had a way of making people feel at home.”

Stuart was also known for her delicious cuisine. She posted pictures of several of her dishes on her Facebook page, Pinot Mom, on which she described herself as “a pinot beater, a party planner, a vineyard owner.” Also partner of R. Stuart Winery.

Stuart is survived by her husband, sons Joe and Ben, and daughter Charlotte, who graduated from McMinnville High School in June.

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