If you've ever been to a winetasting or a pairing dinner in Miami, chances are you met local wine educator Barry Alberts.
Alberts died suddenly this past weekend. His daughter, Lexi, posted the news on Alberts' Facebook page Saturday, April 5. Alberts also had a son, Chad, who lives in Portland.
Details about his death were not shared online; however, the Coconut Grove Grapevine reports Alberts was involved in a car accident this past Friday. A family friend confirmed he was returning home after an event around 11 p.m. April 4 when his car crashed into a barrier wall not far from his home in Coconut Grove. No other cars were involved.
Almost immediately, word spread of Alberts' passing, with his Facebook page becoming an online memorial. Friends, family, and colleagues posted remembrances, many of them including pictures of a bottle they would open in the wine educator's honor.
Among those paying tribute to Alberts was Dewey LoSasso, executive chef of Acqualina Resort & Spa. LoSasso posted an intimate message about a friendship that spanned several decades:
I cannot express the sadness I feel for a man who always cared ..not just about the obvious, but the subtle as well.
He had an amazing palate , he put up with my odd combos years ago..We had a great time at the Forge during a Laurent Perrier dinner there with Sara. Even recently at our Paradise Farms dinner with Acqualina, afterwards, sitting around a fire, playing guitar and enjoying life..But really it is not about food, wine, all that ..It's about his daughter Lexi ..I am so, so sorry about your loss..
Alberts, the owner of Berries to Wine Inc., a consulting and event firm, had been part of the Miami food and beverage scene for more than two decades -- long before there was much of a Miami culinary scene to speak of
The host of the longest-running winetasting series in Miami, if not the nation, Alberts conducted weekly winetastings and educational seminars throughout Miami. Some of the best restaurateurs and chefs in South Florida called on Alberts to help curate pairing dinners and make selections for the restaurants' wine collections. Most recently, Alberts poured a group of Spanish wines at Dinner in Paradise at Paradise Farms.
I had the good fortune of meeting Barry many times. I went to his winetastings, sat at his table at dinners, and ran into him at events. He was always smiling and quick to share a mini-lesson in what we were drinking -- not in a condescending wine-snob way, but in an "I want to share my experiences with you" way.
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One of mankind's oldest and most universal sayings is "in vino veritas," which means "in wine there is truth." The truth is that Miami lost a good friend and member of our culinary community.