Two vintage German wine tastings lured Christian Adams, 37, of Biebelsheim, Germany, to the United States this September, his first trip to the United States in five years.
The deputy director of a trade group that promotes German wine exports, Adams was on his way from the first tasting, which ended Sept. 10 in New York, to the second, scheduled for Sept. 13 in San Francisco, when he died in the hijacking of United Airlines Flight 93.
Every year, someone from Adams' group comes to the states for the two tastings, said Carol Sullivan, executive director of the German Wine Information Bureau, the New York-based American branch of the German Wine Institute.
But she said it was rare for Adams to come to the United States himself--the wine-making season in Germany coincides with the typically late-September tasting dates, Sullivan said.
"His wife's family and Christian have their own small winery, which made it difficult for him to come. But because of the Jewish holidays, we were holding the event earlier in the month this year," Sullivan said.
A native of Germany, Adams had a degree in oenology (the science of wine) and viticulture (the cultivation of grapes) from the Geisenheim Research Institute, a wine-making school in the Rheinland, in western Germany, Sullivan said. Adams had been head of the German Wine Institute's export efforts for 12 years and also had a marketing degree from the University of California at Davis.
"For all of us that are involved in this work, it's more of a family than a job. And Christian was the hub. He was the center of this," Sullivan said. "I will always remember his thoughtful counsel and dedication and hard work and easy-going manner and wonderful sense of humor, that just made working with him an absolute pleasure."
Adams and his wife had two children, Lucas, 7, and Theresa, 5.
Published by Newsday on Sep. 13, 2001.