A well-known North Bay winemaker was killed in an early morning crash Saturday in Yountville.
Denis Malbec, 46, of St. Helena, was driving a 2016 Mercedes-Benz west on Washington Street at an unknown speed around 1:10 a.m. when it ran off the road near Highway 29, according to the CHP. The vehicle struck a fence and a number of trees, according to investigators.
Malbec was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger, Josh Phelps, escaped injury, but was taken to Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa as a precautionary measure. Both men were wearing seat belts, according to authorities.
Phelps, 30, is the winemaker and co-founder of Taken Wine Co in St. Helena.
The CHP said it was unknown whether alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash.
Malbec, along with his wife, was a founding winemaker at Captûre Wines, with an estate vineyard on Pine Mountain near Cloverdale. In 2014, Jackson Family Wines purchased the brand. He formerly worked at Chateau Latour, a famed French winery in Bordeaux.
With his wife, May-Britt, Malbec owned Notre Vin, a small-batch winery offering premium wines sourced from Napa and Sonoma county vineyards.
(Editor's note: a previous version of this story stated that Malbec was still the winemaker at Captûre Wines.)