Tao was a wine connoisseur and entrepreneur.
Wine was in Tao’s blood. Her family owned a vineyard in the Rhône Valley for many generations. It was near Carpentras and Châteauneuf-du-Pape – an area famous for its wine. Her aunt even helped Polish Jews escape the Nazis during World War II by hiding them in large cement wine vats.
When the Germans came to inspect the area, my aunt pretended to be courteous by asking, “Oh, wouldn’t you like to have a glass of wine?” Inside the vat were people who were hardly breathing because of fear.
After World War II, Tao spent time in Sancerre with her first husband Ivan, and other French fighter pilots from the Île-de-France (Free French) Squadron. That’s where she met and spent weekends talking with Ernest Hemingway during the spring/summer of 1947.
Tao acted as a broker for early Napa Valley wine producers.
When French Consul General Raoul Bertrand of Los Angeles found out that Tao’s aunt had a vineyard he took her to all the wineries in California. Tao introduced wine producers in early Napa Valley to the European wine industry elite for quality products and advice on winemaking.
Some of these winemaking people I met said, “Tao, you know so many important people in Europe and you also know so much about wine. We need good produce from different countries. Can you help us?”
Tao met wine pioneer Robert Mondavi while he was still working with his father and before he started the now famous Robert Mondavi Winery.
Tao founded one of the first wine appreciation newspapers in the U.S.
Tao founded and published the Beverage Communicator, one of the only three wine appreciation newspapers in America at the time. The other were Wines and Vines and Wine Spectator. She published it for nearly 30 years.
Since I knew so many people I distributed it everywhere – in at least forty-seven countries in addition to the United States and Canada. I had advertisers from all over.
Together with her second husband, Bill Lynch, Tao ran a wine products shop in Hartsdale, New York and was a co-founder of the American Wine Society in 1967. Tao still serves as Vice President for Southern New York.
Tao led wine workshops and retreats through her 90’s.
Tao led yoga and wine retreats to France among other places, and hosted wine appreciation events for the American Wine Society.
Learn about the many branches of Tao: Yoga | Activism | Fashion | Theatre/Film | Wine | Dance