Andrew Martin Adams, 70, died on Dec. 16, 2013. Marty, as everyone knew him, was a loving and loyal husband and father, good friend and astute business executive who specialized in wine and gourmet foods. He died peacefully surrounded by family at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center after a seven-year fight against the cancer Multiple Myeloma.
Marty brought an intense focus to everything he pursued and enjoyed striking up conversations with everyone he met. He loved hiking along the Lost Coast, Big Sur and the hills surrounding Sonoma. He studied history and enjoyed visiting Revolutionary War and Civil War sites. Wherever he went, he collected exquisite crystal wine and spirit decanters from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Marty was born in upstate New York to Helen and Andrew Adams. He graduated from Marquette University where he met Maureen, his wife of 47 years. After serving as a special agent and interrogation specialist in the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps, Marty worked in marketing and sales at corporations such as Procter & Gamble Co. and Johnson & Johnson.
During a routine meeting of junior executives in 1975, Marty walked out and turned his back on the corporate world. He took a sales position at a wine shop in Chicago and turned his passion for wine into a profession by working up to the post of general manager. Following his success there, Marty assumed the role of president and CEO at McCormick Distilling Company in Weston, Mo. He also served on the board of the Kansas City Museum and was active in Young Presidents Organization.
Marty’s knack for “restructuring” companies caught the attention of Sebastiani Vineyards in Sonoma. In 1985, the family-owned winery decided to hire a whiskey man from Missouri to revitalize the company. From Sebastiani, Marty went on to Kendall-Jackson, and then to Kunde Estate Winery where he oversaw the construction of the Kunde family’s winery on Highway 12. During this time he was on the board of directors for the USF Business School where he mentored young entrepreneurs. In 1994, Marty struck out on his own founding the company Great Estates. He traveled the world finding new wines, spirits and beers to develop and import to the United States.