Dennis Alexander beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother and friend passed away peacefully on his 90th birthday, February 9, 2021. Dennis was born in Lodi to Christ and Efteachea Alexander. He was married for 68 years to Roberta Alexander. They lived on their ranch surrounded by vineyards in Lodi. Dennis was a farmer, businessman and inventor and always loved a good challenge. His work ethic was beyond exemplary. He could fix anything - he could build anything - he had the mind of an engineer. He always loved to explain the most intricate details of how something was built and how it worked. Dennis was an entrepreneur at heart.
His father and mother were immigrants from Kefalonia, Greece. Their journey from Greece through Ellis Island brought them to the West coast. The Alexander family purchased a vineyard on Lodi's Westside in 1921, and from there they built a winery - Alex's Winery. Dennis was one of only a few winemakers in the US that produced Kokineli and Retsina wine that was a specific Greek style wine made with the additive of pine tree pitch which he imported from Greece. Dennis' creative nature drove his passion for the wine industry. He opened several wine tasting rooms from Lodi to Jamestown to Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. His acquisition of some old caves in historic Coloma in the 1960s lead to opening Coloma Wine Cellars in Lodi. The famly later purchased California Concentrate Company and moved into fresh juice and concentrate production and sales and was the first to export fresh grape juice to Canada for wine making using refrigerated trucks and plastic drums. In 1965 he established Wine Art of America and Canada producing wine kits for home wine makers using grape concentrates made from grapes from the San Joaquin Valley region. He opened several home-winemaking supply stores and enjoyed mentoring home winemakers. In 1970 he developed a process for freeze drying grape skins to use in the wine kits.
Around 1970 Dennis worked with Dr. Michael Lewis and UC Davis to produce liquid malt extracts to be used in the craft brewing industry and for home brewers. His malt extracts were instrumental in the origin of breweries like Sierra Nevada, Boston Brewing Co. and many others.
Throughout his life he belonged to many organizations. He was a member of the Lodi Grape Growers Association, Young Farmers, California Wine Institute, Wine Institute of America, PACA, American Society of Enology and Viticulture. Dennis consulted with and was good friends with Maynard A. Amerine, the father of enology in California. He was also a member of the HWBTA - Home Wine and Beer Trade Association, AHA - American Homebrewers Association and the Craft Brewers Association.
After retirement, Dennis and Roberta enjoyed traveling the world and spending time with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His 5A's and 1D projects were all focused for the love and benefit of his grandchildren. He was affectionately known as "Papou". "Sweet Pea" their little schnauzer was a constant companion and brought a happy spirit and much joy to their lives.
Dennis was preceded in death by his wife, Roberta Alexander, who passed away last year on February 7, 2020. He is survived by his children, Denise Perak (Denny), Andy Alexander (Janice) and Tom Alexander; grandchildren, Dominic Alexander (Amanda), Alexia Alexander-Lozano (Josh), Aron Jordan (Jason), Andrea Doran (Sean), Adriene Alexander (Justyn), Annette Whittock (Mark); great-grandchildren, Fiona, Hanna, Ella, Abigail, Aubrey, Zoe, Abram, Clara and Olivia; his brother, George Alexander (Linda); sister, Helen Robles (Gene); and many nieces and nephews.
His family wishes to express their sincere appreciation to Marri and Christina for their dedicated, wonderful, compassionate loving care.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Knockout Parkinson's Inc. 167 Commerce Street Suite 101, Lodi, CA 95240, WOW Museum, 2 N. Sacramento St, Lodi, CA 95240. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
Published in Lodi-News Sentinel from Feb. 20 to Feb. 26, 2021.