Temecula Valley Wine Country mourns the death of Joe Hart, founder of Hart Winery and legendary pioneer of Southern California Wine Country

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Joe Hart, far right, poses for a photo with his family. Hart, one of the original pioneers of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country, died Nov. 19 following a brief battle with cancer. Valley News/Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association photo
Joe Travis Hart, one of the original pioneers of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country, died Nov. 19, after a brief battle with cancer. Joe was not only the founder and original winemaker of Hart Winery, the oldest continuously owned and operated winery in Temecula Valley, he also paved the way for a movement toward the production of quality wine in the region, serving as a mentor for those who would follow in his footsteps in Temecula and beyond. Joe was 89 years old.Joe and his wife Nancy fell in love with Temecula Valley in the 1970s, not long after the first commercial vineyard was planted in the region. Realizing the Mediterranean climate and soils of Temecula Valley were ideal for growing premium wine grapes, the couple, along with their three sons, purchased some land
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