Winemaker killed in Napa crash

A well-known Napa County winemaker and consultant died in a solo vehicle crash early Saturday morning in unincorporated Napa County just north of Yountville.

Denis Malbec, 46, of St. Helena, was driving a 2016 Mercedes-Benz C450 north on Washington Street when it left the road on a left turn and hit a barbed wire fence and a tree around 1:10 a.m., California Highway Patrol Officer Marc Renspurger said.

Malbec was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger, Joshua Phelps, 30, of St. Helena, was not injured and was taken to Queen of the Valley Medical Center as a precaution, Renspurger said.

Both men were wearing seat belts, and investigators do not know if impairment contributed to the crash, Renspurger said.

Malbec and his wife Britt-May Malbec were winemakers and consultants at wineries including Sodaro Estate Winery in Napa Valley and Blankiet Estate winery in Yountville.

Denis Malbec also was a winemaker at Kapcsandy Family Winery in Yountville.