Adieu et Merci “Monsieur Châteauneuf-du-Pape”
Westfield, NJ-Alain Junguenet, 77, passed away on October 7, 2019 following complications associated with Parkinson’s Disease. Born November 28, 1941 to Emile and Jehanne Junguenet in Fontainebleau, France, he was the youngest of 8 siblings. Known primarily in the United States as the founder and president of Alain Junguenet Selection, a wine importer, he was among the first to champion the wines of France’s Southern Rhone Valley, most notably Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This dedication to a specific region led legendary wine critic Robert Parker to dub Alain, ‘Mr. Châteauneuf-du-Pape’ in The Wine Advocate.
Alain’s first career and passion was auto racing, however. From 1959 to the early 1970s, Alain competed in rallys around France and Europe, on such tracks as Le Mans and Spa-Francorchamps. Throughout his career, he maintained a well-respected reputation among his fellow drivers.
After moving to New Jersey in 1983 with his wife, Elaine, and infant son, John, Alain saw an opportunity to keep in touch with his native France via the wine industry. Starting with winemakers he already knew in the Beaujolais/Maconnais region, Alain quickly understood that the top producers in Burgundy and Bordeaux were already in the U.S. market. With that in mind, he ventured south to Avignon where he found a region producing wines of outstanding quality that offered huge value.
Quickly becoming a fixture in the cellars of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the first estate Alain would work with was Bosquet des Papes, followed quickly by Le Vieux Donjon, Henri Bonneau and Clos des Papes. The Wines of France, Inc. portfolio (now known as Alain Junguenet Selection) continued to develop over the years but has remained the benchmark for producers from Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the surrounding appellations. The Alain Junguenet Selection portfolio still ranks among the top in the country, but Alain would never be the one to tell you that. Alain Junguenet Selection continues on under Alain’s son, John, who joined the company in 2005.
Alain was known for his tough, yet soft spoken, lone-wolf nature by those he’s worked with, and as a gregarious, pun-loving, dedicated father with an ultra generous spirit by his family. He leaves behind his adoring wife of nearly 40 years, Elaine; daughter, Jehanne; sons, Guillaume and John; daughter-in-law, Phyllis; grandsons, Jack (3) and Leo (2); and sisters, Odile Croquez and Mireille Shabe.