Our family was saddened enough when Thomas Coyne died several years ago; the winemaking world lost a good man and a vinicultural genius. But when I read in The Independent last week that Emilie Coyne had passed away, my husband and I were absolutely heartbroken. The earth lost a beautiful, kind soul, though heaven gained a sweet, hospitable angel.

Thomas Coyne Winery was a favorite of ours to visit. We enjoyed all of Tom's wines, and though Sweet Emilie was good, Tom made a fabulous Cabernet Franc. We smile as we remember him always wearing his Penn State hat.

From a patron's perspective, Tom was always kind and passionate about wine in his own quiet way, but Emilie was the social butterfly. She was always so welcoming in her bright, effervescent way. We discovered in one of many conversations that my husband and Emilie had a unique New York connection (my husband grew up in Middletown, where Emilie was a nurse for a time), and that I had graduated with their son, Steve, from Livermore High. Emilie laughed when we told her that their winery was our first outing after having our firstborn, and she always lavished attention on our two boys whenever we visited. It was so peaceful up there at Chateau Bellevue; we could've lingered for hours, with Emilie holding court.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Coyne family at this difficult time, especially losing such a lovely lady right before the holidays. It is always hardest for those left behind, but rest assured that Tom and Emilie are reunited in heaven now, smiling down on their loved ones, seeing that everyone is taken care of and that their wine glasses are never empty.