Longtime Washington wine judge, enthusiast dies

By on May 17, 2014
Dave Seaver, longtime washington wine judge and enthusiast.

Dave Seaver, a longtime Northwest wine judge and enthusiast, died early Friday morning. He was 66.

RICHLAND, Wash. – David Seaver, a longtime wine judge, enthusiast and collector, died early Friday morning. He was 66.

Seaver, who was an accomplished wine judge, had been in ill health for several months and apparently died in his sleep at his home in Richland.

He grew up in Nebraska and attended Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, where he received a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Seaver then went to the University of Michigan, where he earned a Ph.D in mathematical psychology before going to the University of Southern California for his post-doc work.

He moved to Washington state and worked at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland as a scientist specializing in decision analysis and risk management.

Dave Seaver, Great Northwest Wine.

Dave Seaver, shown here judging the Idaho Wine Competition, was a retired scientist.

After retiring, Seaver pursued a lifelong love of wine. He joined Wine Press Northwest magazine’s tasting panel a decade ago and later judged at such competitions as the Greatest of the Grape in Southern Oregon, the North Central Washington Wine Awards in Wenatchee, Wash., the Idaho Wine Competition, the Capital Food & Wine Competition, the Great Northwest Wine Competition, the Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition, Wine Press Northwest’s annual Platinum Judging and Savor Northwest.

For the past 18 months, he was an active member of Great Northwest Wine’s tasting panel.

One of his best friends, Coke Roth, was a neighbor for 24 years. Roth, an attorney and one of the most respected wine judges in the United States, met him in 1990, when Seaver moved into the condominium next door.

“The first day I met him set the stage for a fun relationship,” Roth told Great Northwest Wine. “I was out on my deck, and he was out on his deck.”

They decided to share a meal together that evening, and Seaver brought over a vertical of Chateau Lynch-Bages.

“I knew I had the right neighbor,” Roth said with a chuckle. “He was a big wine enthusiast. He was quite knowledgeable.”

Through the years, Seaver became a close friend to Roth and his family.

“He was a big part of our lives,” he said. “We enjoyed a lot of good food, cigars, bourbon and wine together. I’m going to miss him a lot.”

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is founding partner of Great Northwest Wine LLC and a longtime wine columnist. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books.


  1. Jean Yates says:

    I had the pleasure of judging wine with David and he was a delight to work with. He had a deep knowledge of wine and an encyclopaedic memory for Washington wineries. A great sense of humor and a kind word when I was worried. I’ll miss him. – Jean

  2. I had the pleasure of judging with Dave 2 or 3 times. A nice guy, sad to have him leave us.

  3. Dave was on my first wine judging panel at the Idaho Wine Competition. I was so nervous but after the first half, he made me feel right at home. He was a tough, but good judge. He had a great palate and was a true advocate for encouraging winemakers to deliver great NW wine to wine drinkers. He will be missed – Kat

  4. Lisa Stillwell says:

    I’ve known Dave since he and my late husband were in graduate school together in the mid-70s. He’s been uncle Dave to my kids and a wonderful friend of mine for 40 years. We will miss him.

    • Fred Rothe says:

      Lisa, it has been a long time. I was thinking back on those days in Los Angeles and Ventura and wondered what happened to David and discovered this notice. We will miss him and hope that you are doing well.

  5. I just happened to stumble upon this article, and I had no idea until now. I was honored to judge with him last year at Savor NW, he definitely added character to the competition. I’m sorry he won’t be joining us this year.

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