In 1951, Alfred G. Scheid hitchhiked out of the coal mining town of Bridgeport, Ohio, with $42 in his pocket. After jobs in a steel mill and a coal factory, joined the Navy and, with the Korean War raging. was stationed at Los Alamitos Naval Air Station in Southern California.
He put himself through Citrus Junior College and Claremont Mens College by working a variety of jobs and then attended Harvard Business School. Once he had graduated from Harvard, he returned to California, and joined E.F. Hutton & Co. But he found the corporate world constraining, so he struck out to pursue dealmaking using a combination of street smarts, innate intelligence and sheer nerve. He was instrumental in closing numerous deals across many industries, undaunted by diving into businesses he knew nothing about.
Al went on to found two successful biotechnology companies without having a background in science, and Scheid Family Wines, in 1972.
He said he knew little about wine when he founded Scheid Family Wines, but he was a founder of the California Association of Winegrape Growers in 1974, serving as Chairman and long-time board
member; he was named its Leader of the Year in 2017.
As for Scheid Family Wines, the Harvard Business School graduate oversaw its evolution from a grape grower to a wine company that produces nearly 1 million cases of wine a year and is ranked among the 25 largest wine producers in California. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022 and is still a family-run business with two of Al’s children, Scott and Heidi Scheid, at the helm.
Al Scheid wrote a 720-page memoir, Breaking Out of Beerport, about growing up in Bridgeport, Ohio, during the Depression. He shared many life lessons with friends and colleagues, among them to be a lifelong learner, to be an advocate among them to be a lifelong learner, to be an advocate for your own health, to always tell the truth so you don’t have to remember anything, and that life is just an adventure.
He closed his memoir with a quote from Leo Tolstoy, “All, everything I understand, I
understand because I love.”
Survivors: his wife, Shirley Gladden Scheid; his four children, Scott Scheid (wife Nancy), Heidi Scheid, Emily Scheid, and Tyler Scheid (wife Michelle); his stepchildren Mike Buske (wife Ivie) and Kim Buske DiDio (husband Tony), nine grandchildren, and five step-grandchildren.
The family requests donations to Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley directed towards BEAF (Bridgeport Educational Assistance Foundation), 1226 Chapline St., Wheeling, WV 26003 or online at Bridgeport Educational Assistance Foundation (fcsuite.com).