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A final glass for Robert Lawrence Balzer

February 8, 2012 |  3:51 pm

BalzerFriends and fans of Robert Balzer are invited to gather at Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana on Saturday for a final toast to the longtime Los Angeles Times wine writer, who died in early December at the age of 99. Balzer, who taught and wrote about wine for more than 65 years, saw California wine grow from almost nothing -- he started not long after the end of Prohibition -- into one of the world's predominant wine producing regions.

Balzer, who began writing about wine for the newsletter of his parent's carriage-trade grocery in the Larchmont district, was more than a passive observer to that growth. As wine columnist for The Times for more than three decades, he played a vital role. He also wrote 11 books on wine and organized the beverage service for three presidential inaugurations -- both of Ronald Reagan's and George H.W. Bush's.

The tribute event will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the cemetery, which is located at 1702 Fairhaven Ave. For more information, visit the cemetery's website.


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Photo: Legendary vintner Robert Mondavi, left, and writer Robert Balzer in 2004. Photo credit: Brian Imelli