Leslie Rudd, renowned investor, wine expert and parttime Aspen resident, has died
Leslie Rudd, who has business ties to Aspen and built upon his family’s beverage-distribution company out of Kansas, died Thursday. He was 76.
A spokesperson for the Leslie Rudd Investment Co. based in Wichita confirmed Rudd’s death but would not release any other information, including cause of death or where he passed away. According to the Wichita Eagle, Rudd died in New York.
Rudd was a big part of the resurrection of Aspen’s old Main Street Bakery building near Paepcke Park and also owned property in Woody Creek and Snowmass, according to county records.
“My deepest thoughts and my prayers go out to Leslie’s friends and family,” said David Roth, who was partners with Rudd in the bakery building renovation. “He was a great man and a true gentleman. I will miss him.”
Rudd’s company has a satellite office in the Elks Building. The company spokesperson said Thursday the family would not comment further at this time and asked that their privacy be respected.
Rudd was deeply involved in wine and founded The Rudd Group, which includes the Rudd Winery in Napa Valley as well as a number of other vineyards. He was a philanthropic leader and started the Rudd Foundation in 1991. The foundation gives scholarships to students going to universities in Kansas, but also advocated for national food policies and obesity issues and Jewish causes.
The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity was formed in 2005 and currently is based at the University of Connecticut.
According to Pitkin County records, Rudd owned two estates off Upper River Road near Woody Creek, including a 7,000-square foot home that sits on 15 acres. He also is listed as the owner of a 39.5-acre undeveloped lot in Snowmass.
According to the Standard Beverage website, the Rudd family started in the industry in the early 1900s as they were the “original manufacturers of wood cooperage for the Coors Brewery” in Golden. However, Rudd’s father, Sam Rudd, moved to Wichita in 1935, and that’s where Leslie was born and continued in the family business.
Leslie Rudd became president of his father’s beverage-distribution company in 1974 and expanded from there. The LRI Co. holdings include wine groups in California such as Vintage Wine Estates, Covenant Wines and a gin manufacturer in San Francisco. The LRI Co. also has a real estate leg and a magazine publishing company.
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