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Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 12.14.46 PMWINE JOURNALIST/VINTNER
Such a vibrant presence was Nancy Knowles Parker, that I was struck speechless when informed of her death on January 1O. Although 85-years-old, she, once a model and still a stylish, beautiful and actively productive woman, could have served as a model for the often overused adjective “vibrant”, defined as “. . . throbbing with life and activity . . . sparkling, vivacious.”

Nancy was born in Buffalo, New York. Despite being a descendant of Ephraim Wales Bull – who discovered, in Concord, Massachusetts, the grape variety named for that town – she was not to immerse herself in wine until much later. During her career in journalism, she met Cortlandt Parker when they crossed paths at the newark evening news. They married in 1952. Before he died in 2OO2 they had established a group of community newspapers and, later, websites in New Jersey, of which Nancy was publisher emerita. The family still ownes the new jersey hills media group.

In 198O, Cortlandt and Nancy planted a vineyard on Greenvale Farm in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, a Parker family property since 186O, and established Greenvale Vineyards and Winery in 1992. Managed by daughter Nancy Parker Wilson, it produces artisanal wines of quality. In 1988, Nancy Parker founded the new england wine gazette, which has chronicled and helped nurture the growing wine industry of the region. There were 37 wineries in New England’s six states at that time – now there are 5O in Massachusetts alone. Similar wine gazettes were added to focus on the Finger Lakes, Long Island and Virginia. Nancy published them all, and edited the New England edition.

She had more interests and engaged in more activities than I have room to list. Ignoring adversities, she remained generously and energetically enthusiastic. As daughter Nancy said, “She thought anything worthwhile was possible.” She died of complications of a stroke. Nancy Knowles Parker is survived by four children, fourteen grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, by other family, many friends, and a host of grateful wine producers and consumers.