Jimmy Mancbach

In 2007 we lost a great friend of the wine industry, Jimmy Mancbach. His love of wine and enthusiasm for living life to the fullest will truly be missed.

Even in his passing, Jimmy’s spirit of generosity lives on in the form of The Jimmy Mancbach Memorial Scholarship Foundation. The foundation realizes his dream of creating a scholarship for up-and-coming fine wine professionals. Jimmy wanted to provide a rare opportunity for those young wine enthusiasts to work with some of America’s greatest winemakers with whom he had developed strong relationships throughout the years.

The annual recipients will travel to specially selected wineries during harvest, where they will work with some of the most talented and celebrated winemakers and viticulturists in the wine industry. There they will carry forth Jimmy’s passion, integrity and love for great wine and food.

A wine connoisseur with a penchant for unearthing hard-to-find and overlooked brands, Mancbach spent a great deal of time traveling in California and around the globe hoping to discover the next addition to Southern's Gems Collection, which he oversaw (it was often referred to as Jimmy's Gems). His expertise led Southern to endow him with broad autonomy to purchase wines according to his own distinguished palate. 

He took immense pride in his ability to build relationships with his restaurant clients and help improve their wine programs by telling the stories of the wines he sold to them and explaining the winemakers' vision, all the while avoiding the pretense and snobbery often associated with wine. "I micromanage each of my buyers and my wines," he once said. "I have little to do with the political bull in this business or with egomaniacs, people who think they know everything about wine." 

According to Arnold Sessions, Mancbach even continued setting up allocations and marketing plans from his hospital bed. "Jimmy has always been the person that really gets it about small wineries," she said. "He'd get this merry band of road warriors (winery sales directors) and go out and educate about the wines and other great wines. We grew up doing that in Florida." Mancbach was a native of Metuchen, N.J. He moved to Florida in 1979 and had a brief stint in the furniture business before landing with Miami-based Southern. He usually took an active presence in Miami's South Beach Wine & Food Festival, often helping auction off high-end wines at the annual event.

He was particularly passionate about wine education, and before his death Mancbach asked several of the wineries he worked with including Ridge, Au Bon Climat, Hanzell and Chateau Montelena to set up a scholarship fund that could send aspiring winemakers to California to work harvest alongside the likes of Au Bon Climat's Jim Clendenen. 

The annual recipients will travel to specially selected wineries during harvest, where they will work with some of the most talented and celebrated winemakers and viticulturists in the wine industry. There they will carry forth Jimmy’s passion, integrity and love for great wine and food.

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An
Interview With Jimmy

Foundation Purpose Statement

The Jimmy Mancbach Scholarship Foundation allows young up and coming wine professionals the unique opportunity to travel to specially selected wineries during harvest. These annual recipients will work with some of the most talented and celebrated winemakers and viticulturists in the wine industry.

The Jimmy Mancbach Memorial Scholarship Foundation was made possible by the many friends of Jimmy Mancbach in the wine & food industry and various other contributions. Over 100 prestigious wineries and 50 restaurants made donations for an On-Line Auction that was held in October 2007.

To date over 15 prominent California wineries have agreed to host scholarship recipients on a rotating basis. The foundation also seeks fine wine vintners who are in need of additional help during harvest season.

"Mr. Mel Dick asked me about 18 years ago what wines I like to drink." I told him "I like to drink the wines my friends make." "Wine is more personal to me. I don’t seek out what new wine might get a 96 point scores for there are a ton of great wines.
Stylistically I like some better than others and in my portfolio there is room for all different styles as long as they are well made with the integrity and effort of the winemaker."

 

- Jimmy Mancbach