Dennis T Collins, general manager of California’s Treana Winery since 2002, has died of cancer aged 60.

A native of Modesto, California and a 35 year wine industry veteran, Collins died at his home on 27 March.

‘Dennis was a leader in the wine industry locally, nationally and globally,’ said Treana president and winemaker Austin Hope.

‘He was an invaluable member of our team at Treana, a mentor, a teacher and an example to many. Above all, he was the most courageous man I’ve ever met.’

Collins began his career as a quality control employee at E & J Gallo. In the 1980s, he established the Vintner Supply Company – later bought by the Bronco Wine Company for which he eventually supervised international wine sales.

In the 1990s, Collins worked for the wine brokerage Joseph Ciatti Company, moving to Paso Robles to establish Big Red Vineyard, which his family still runs.

A board member of the California Wine Institute, Collins was named 2005 Paso Robles Wine Industry Person of the Year by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.

He was also an active leader of the Boy Scouts of America and in January was honoured with the Silver Bear Award – the organisation’s highest – in recognition of his leadership, guidance and inspiration.

Collins is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

Written by Tim Teichgraeber