A sad weekend for the Tri-Valley winery scene, as Mitchell Katz Winery founder and owner Mitchell Katz was killed in a Friday automobile accident in Livermore, as his family has confirmed.  

The East Bay’s Livermore Valley is one of California’s oldest wine regions, and one of its more illustrious wineries is Mitchell Katz Winery, founded in 1998. But something seemed off on Saturday, when the winery cryptically posted to Facebook “Unfortunately, we will be CLOSED Saturday, July 22 & Sunday July 23. Thank you for your understanding.” And we now learn that’s because, as the Chronicle reports, the winery’s owner and founder Mitchell Katz was killed in a Friday car accident in Livermore. He was 59.    

“We have suffered a tragic loss,” Katz’s surviving children posted to his Facebook page late Sunday afternoon. “Our dad, Mitchell Katz, was unexpectedly taken from us this past Friday evening, July 21, 2023. At this time, we don’t have any additional information to offer. As expected, we his family and extended family, are all [devastated] and saddened by this tragedy.”

We didn’t know who the 59-year-old driver was when the Livermore Police Department posted on Saturday that “Around 3:20 p.m. on Friday, July 21, Livermore Police responded to a major injury collision on East Avenue at Mitra Street.” That post adds that “When officers arrived, they found it was a two-car crash with the driver of a white GMC SUV with major injuries. The 59-year-old driver from Livermore was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.”

According to police, Katz was changing lanes on East Avenue in Livermore when the driver of a black Subaru collided with Katz’s GMC. The driver of that Subaru has only been identified as a man in his 20s from Westley, California.

Livermore police say they are “awaiting toxicology results,” so will not indicate whether drugs or alcohol played a role. The cause of the crash still remains under investigation.

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Image: Mitchell Katz Winery via Facebook