Hirsch Vineyards owner improving after tractor accident

  • Pinot noir and chardonnay vineyards provide a backdrop to David Hirsch, who came to the Sonoma Coast nearly 30 years ago to make site-specific wine. Shot on August 30, 2007. ( Press Democrat / Charlie Gesell )

Renowned Sonoma Coast grape grower and wine producer David Hirsch was in stable condition Tuesday at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, his daughter said.

Hirsch's condition is improving but just what lies ahead in terms of recovery is not entirely known, Jasmine Hirsch said late Tuesday.

"They haven't really gotten specific about a timeline yet," she said. "He's going to be in the hospital awhile, and he's going to need rehab."

But Hirsch said her father, 70, never lost consciousness and retains full cognitive function.

"He's alert," she said. "He's been talking to us."

Hirsch, owner of Hirsch Vineyards near Fort Ross and a champion of the region's unique wines, was injured Saturday afternoon while teaching a member of his crew how to use a tractor, his daughter said.

Emergency dispatchers said the initial 2 p.m. report of the incident indicated the huge tractor bucket dropped on Hirsh's head, though it was later reported Hirsch became crushed between the moveable arms and the main body of the vehicle.

Jasmine Hirsch said she was unsure about what happened, but said her father did not suffer a head injury in the accident. She otherwise declined to describe his injuries to preserve his privacy.

News of Hirsch's accident evoked expressions of concern and well wishes far and wide in the wine community, where he's described as "legendary" and an industry "icon."

Hirsch's pinot grapes are used in a number of premium wines, in addition to those made by Hirsch Vineyards.

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