David Braganini, president of the Paw Paw-based St. Julian Winery and one of the region's most recognized leaders in the local wine industry, died on July 5, 2016, according to a post on the winery's social media and website.

Braganini's deep voice and stately presence always accompanied his passion for the industry, and helped surge St. Julian's success. Even among those who might not know much about wine, when asked about the local industry would often think of St. Julian first.

Kalamazoo-based "wine guru" Terry Stingley told us Braganini will not easily be replaced.

"[He] oversaw the successful operations of the oldest winery in the state of Michigan," Stingley said. "The Michigan Wine community has lost a champion, and his passing will leave a void that our state will feel for years to come."

On the St. Julian Winery Facebook page and website, the following announcement was posted:

"David Braganini, the beloved Leader and President of the St. Julian Wine Family passed away unexpectedly on July 5th, 2016. The Winery has been family owned and operated since 1921, but Dave is what made the company truly a family. His passion for our mission and love for his employees is what makes St. Julian what it is today. As we mourn Dave’s passing and reflect on the impact he’s had on us; we know that Dave’s memory and spirit will live on through our Family and through each and every one of our products. In honor of David Braganini please raise a glass, Salute."

The origins of St. Julian Winery date back to 1921. The company's website says the company came to Paw Paw from Detroit in 1936.

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