Jan Isaac Shrem (born 1930) is an American book distributor and publisher, winery owner, art collector and philanthropist.
Early life and education
Born in Colombia to Jewish-Lebanese parents, Shrem spent his childhood in Jerusalem and his early adolescence in Colombia. He emigrated to the United States at age 16. He attended the University of Utah and UCLA. While in college, he sold encyclopedias.
Book distribution and publishing business in Japan
A romance with a Japanese woman led him to visit Japan. He stayed 13 years, establishing a book distribution company that sold English language encyclopedias, engineering books and art books. His company also published translations of books into Japanese. Shrem sold his Japanese business after 13 years. At that time, it had 50 offices and 2,000 salespeople.
He met Mitsuko Shrem in 1960, and they got married and had two sons, Marc and David. They were married until her death from pancreatic cancer in 2010.
Business ventures in Europe
After selling his Japanese company, Shrem lived with his family in Italy and France, where he continued with publishing and book distribution ventures. There, he began collecting art and learning about wine. He studied enology at the University of Bordeaux.
Clos Pegase Winery
After retiring from the publishing business, Shrem relocated to the Napa Valley, where he established Clos Pegase Winery in 1983. In cooperation with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, he conducted an architectural design competition. The winner was Michael Graves, who designed the postmodern Clos Pegase Winery building which opened in 1987.
In the Washington Post in 1988, James Conaway said that "Clos Pegase is our first monument to wine as art." It was later described by architecture critic Susan Dinkelspiel Cerny as "an interpretation of Classicism in ochre and burnt sienna, with a spare desert feeling."
Shrem is well known for delivering a humorous lecture on the 4000 year history of wine as seen through art. He calls his presentation "Bacchus the Rascal: A Bacchanalian History of Wine Seen Through 4000 Years of Art".
Shrem married Maria Manetti Farrow in 2012. He sold Clos Pegase to Leslie Rudd's Vintage Wine Estates in 2013, when he was 83 years old. He said that he lacked the stamina to continue overseeing his beloved winery.
In recent years, the Shrems have donated $10 million to the University of California, Davis to help build the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, $3 million to the San Francisco Opera and $1.5 million to KQED in San Francisco. The gift to KQED was the largest individual gift that public radio and TV station had ever received.
- Eaton, Erna P. (February 5, 1995). "Benefit Showcases the Art of the Vine". Buffalo News. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
- "Family of Voices: Jan and Maria Manetti Shrem". National Museum of American History. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
- Zinko, Carolyne (June 17, 2012). "Lightning strikes for Maria Manetti and Jan Shrem: Globe-trotters and philanthropists Maria Manetti and Jan Shrem knew each other socially for a decade before they felt the electric zing of love". San Francisco Chronicle . Retrieved March 6, 2017.
- "Mitsuko Shrem: 1934-2010". Napa Valley Register. April 4, 2010. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
- "KQED Receives Largest Annual Individual Gift in its History: Jan I. Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem make a commitment of $1,500,000 over three years to support KQED Public Television arts programming and KQED Public Radio". KQED. September 11, 2012. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
- Carson, L. Pierce (August 21, 2013). "Jan Shrem sells art-themed Clos Pegase Winery: Vintage Wine Estates adds to its extensive portfolio". Napa Valley Register. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
- Conaway, James (August 21, 1988). "Napa's Artful Newcomer". Washington Post. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
- Dinkelspiel Cerny, Susan (2007). An Architectural Guidebook to San Francisco and the Bay Area. Gibbs Smith. p. 110. ISBN 9781586854324.
- Kempton, Rosemarie (March 28, 2012). "Clos Pegase: Homage to art — and wine". Napa Valley Register. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
- Macias, Chris (November 3, 2016). "What Gucci, Clos Pegase winery and UC Davis' new art museum have in common". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved March 6, 2017.