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Dirgham Salahi, Virginia winery owner, dies

Update: The full obituary on Dirgham Salahi is here.

Dirgham Salahi, the longtime proprietor of the Oasis Winery in Hume, Va., has died. He was 81.

The death was announced by Michaele Salahi, his daughter-in-law, who is best known for her role on the Bravo reality television series "Real Housewives of D.C."

Mr. Salahi's son, Tareq Salahi, and daughter-in-law made major headlines in 2009 after they appeared at a White House State Dinner.

The pair were not included on a published guest list for the event. After the episode, the young couple came to be known as the "White House Gatecrashers."

Throughout the incident, the Salahis maintained they had received an invitation to the exclusive event in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Mr. Salahi, an Israeli immigrant, started the Oasis vineyard in 1977. The local winery received favorable coverage in The Washington Post at the time, as one of the few easily accessible vineyards for Washington oenophiles.

They produced numerous wines including a riesling, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and an award winning sparkling wine.

The vineyard declared bankruptcy in recent years, however, and Mr. Salahi and his son had reportedly feuded over control of the business.

The estate, which sits on nearly 50 acres in the middle of rustic hunt country in Fauquier county, Mr. Salahi said, was his "oasis."

"When you work here, it's so quiet you talk to your vines," Mr. Salahi told The Post in 1984. "It's very peaceful."

Please leave your thoughts or memories of the Oasis Winery founder below.

By T. Rees Shapiro  | October 7, 2010; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  T. Rees Shapiro  | Tags:  Michaele Salahi, Oasis Winery, Real Housewives of DC, Salahis, Tareq Salahi, White House gatecrashers  
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Next: Roy Baker, Director of Understated Precision, Dies


Despite every cynical comment I've posted about the Salahis here at WaPo, I do feel symphathy for Tareq at the death of his father.

Even when a loved one has been sick for a long time and you know it's for the best, you can't prepare yourself for that day.

And, no, the loss never really goes away.

But my greatest sympathy goes to Corinne Salahi. May you find more peaceful days ahead.

Posted by: MeriJ | October 7, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I encourage all to set aside your disdain for his son and daughter-in-law and place that (deserving) venom elsewhere.

Sad that this man's final years were so troubled, but nice that anyone finds their oasis for awhile. Thoughts and prayers for his wife and loved ones.

Posted by: scuba_steve | October 7, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Salahi, I am truly sorry for what you and your spouse have had to endure with your son & daughter-in-law. I trust you now have back the peace that was lost in the latter years of your life.

Posted by: ehsmith1 | October 7, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I was a student at the Salahis' Montessori school. They were good people, and they really cared about kids.

I have no idea what went on with them and Tareq, but I have only the fondest memories of Dirgham and Corinne, and I hope she is well.

Posted by: tomtildrum | October 7, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I bet the father was real proud of the sleazeball son he raised.

Why is this in the news anyways?

Posted by: kenk3 | October 7, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

One less person to sue Michaela and Tareq?

Posted by: motogp46 | October 7, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Parents can do their best to raise a child to be a fit person, but that's all they can do. Tareq should be ashamed of the grief he put his parents through and the family division for personal gain.

My sincere condolences to the widow of this well reputed patriarch.

Posted by: inmanorj | October 7, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Tareq, I truly hope you are happy with yourself now. You personally are responsible for driving your father's business into the ground, and your father to the grave.

Posted by: ehsmith1 | October 7, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Why is this on the front page? An obituary of an elderly rich man who dies. He had not been elected to any position. His son and daughter-in-law caused him heartache. So, its put on the front page? WAPO's reporting sinks lower and lower.

Posted by: drzimmern1 | October 7, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I'll wait for the video of his final moments which are no doubt being spliced and edited with appropriate teary reactions by his narcissistic son and daughter in law.

Posted by: pbrain | October 7, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

My sincere condolences to the family. However, why is this news?

Posted by: dcc1968 | October 7, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Dirgham and Corrine Salahi were pioneer wine makers in Virginia. For this reason alone, he deserves a proper obituary in the Post. Dirgham created a wonderful vineyard and was a master winemaker. He helped anyone who asked him for assistance and both he and Corrine created magic. In our opinion, it is all so tragic that the younger son and his money-grubbing wife destroyed it all. I suppose now we will have to suffer through fake tears and mourning garb on Bravo channel.
Our deepest sympathies to Corrine and her oldest son, Ismail and his lovely family.

Posted by: SidelinesObservant | October 7, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I used to visit the Oasis Vinyard in the late-80's. Mr. Dirgham was always a gentleman and truly loved his vocation. He would let us bring bread and cheese, we would sit by the fire, or outside, and we would try different wines, tasting them before purchasing. The sparkling wine was exceptional. I will always have fond memories of him and Oasis Vinyard.

Posted by: LisaZuchelli | October 7, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse


Read the final comment made to last week's RHODC article.

Posted by: MeriJ | October 7, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Small business owners die everyday and get no mention in the press. The reality is this WaPo coverage is nonsense.

Posted by: whocares666 | October 7, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Who cares? (other than the family, and even they probably don't really care)

Posted by: jjedif | October 7, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

My condolences to the family at the death of the senior Mr. Salahi. I am sure though that the junior can only be waiting for one thing, the reading of the will. I hope that he and his wife are disappointed by it.

Posted by: bobbo2 | October 7, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

My condolences to the family at the death of the senior Mr. Salahi. I am sure though that the junior can only be waiting for one thing, the reading of the will. I hope that he and his wife are disappointed by it.

Posted by: bobbo2 | October 7, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Prayers go out to the poor widow. But this jackass son and his gold digging tranny wife have been trying to steal the fathers vineyard for years. Are we seriously now to believe they are doing anything but practicing the jig they will dance on his grave?? Dirtbags.

Posted by: bromo999 | October 7, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Comrades: Well, it seems that the grapes of Oasis produced some wine, but another well known product has turned to vinegar.

Posted by: rep15 | October 7, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

One big question . . .

Just how is Bravo gonna get the old guy's death into the story line?

. . . well, maybe another question . . .

Will Bravo cameras be at the funeral?

. . . after all, the line between reality and reality TV is getting thinner . . .

Posted by: palmtree2001 | October 7, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Cause of death: overwhelming shame over the antics of his son and daughter-in-law.

Posted by: angelos_peter | October 7, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Sincere condolences on the passing of the family elder. Rest In Peace High In Heaven.

Posted by: notinsc | October 7, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm supposed to show respect to the deceased person's family. Here it is: I'm sorry your father died.
Ok. Done.

Now, on to the real issue here.
I'm supposed to know and care about this man's death because his son and daughter-in-law are 'famous' for sneaking through the White House security?

Posted by: momof20yo | October 8, 2010 5:40 AM | Report abuse

This is not about Tareq & Michaele. The Virginia Wine Industry lost one of their pioneers when Drigham Salahi passed this week. His gracious wife, my friend Corrine, has lost the love of her life and her best friend. Please honor Dirgham by respecting his wishes to pass in silence, there will be no funeral or service. Corrine: Know that those of us who have loved you and Dirgahm all these years hold both of you in our hearts at this time. Michaele: Leave Corrine alone and stop trying to turn this into one of your circus acts - this is not about you. Oh, and by the way let the world know from a family friend, Tareq and Michaele were not there these last few years to help with Drigham's care. They didn't even have the decency to stay away. Corrine needed help, they didn't assist. But, they did come to the winery and break-in with film crews and antics, right under his father's and mother's noses.... Out of respect for Dirgham and Corrine, please leave Corrine alone as she deals with her loss. This includes you Mr. Shapiro - I spoke to you yesterday one of the many times you called the Salahi home yesterday - leave Corrine alone - there will be no service for you to sensationalize and report on.

Posted by: DJ17 | October 8, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Salahi was a really nice man. An article about his death should be about him. Any mention of his child should be held until the final paragraphs.

My sincerest condolences to Mrs. C. Salahi.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 8, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

The death was announced by Michaele Salahi, his daughter-in-law, who is best known for her role on the Bravo reality television series "Real Housewives of D.C."

WRONG! She's best known for being a stupid See You In Tea.

Posted by: damnit79 | October 8, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

How is it that harriden Michale was the one to make the announcement? If Bravo had tried they could not have found anyone less representative of our communities then these fools. Being the Nation's capital and the locii of the diplomatic corps not withstanding, our region also represents old Virginian, Marylander and Afro-American cultures forming the basis of our national identity. Therefore, somewhere along the way most greater Washingtonians do develop some sense of what is appropriate behavior and what is not. Clearly Tareq and Michale Salahi are tone deaf.

I predict that Real Housewive of Beverly Hill will swamp this boat and hopefully Bravo won't renew. What then? Tareq and Michale, the porn video, can't be far behind as long as they can find an organ double for Tareq. They don't call him "Tiki Toy" for nothing, but in fact they do call call him "Tiki Toy" for very, very, very, very little.

Posted by: SoCali | October 8, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

R.I.P. Dirgham Salahi

Posted by: charles20001 | October 8, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

This is the first obituary that I have read that talks about someone else for the first four paragraphs. It seems that the death of Drigham Salahi was secondary in importance to Michaele (who should have had no say whatsoever in this). My condolences to his wife.

Posted by: mbrumble | October 8, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse


It is so sad that some of these comments are about Tareq and his wife. The obituary itself is a shame! Posts should be about memories of Dirgham and HIS wife. Shame on you folks who posted negativity!
"A full obituary is on the way." T. Rees Shapiro, you should have waited and only released the final obituary. Doesn't the family have to approve these first?

Posted by: CHEESE1079 | October 8, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I worked with Dirham at Oasis for eight years. He was one of the pioneers of the Virginia Wine Industry. He and Corrine are very nice people.

Posted by: winewiz | October 9, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Dirgham Salahi was born in Jerusalem and his ancestors lived there long before the creation of Israel. Check you sources. He can hardly be described as an Israeli immigrant.

Posted by: Printthetruth | October 12, 2010 5:48 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who knew him knows that Dirgham Salahi was kind, generous (to a fault), and an old world gentleman. He and Corrine took a whimsical hobby and turned it in to one of the largest and finest wineries in Virginia during its time.

"Printthetruth" said it right ... I'll say it again. Dirgham was born in Jerusalem, Palestine and was proud of his heritage.

He developed oustanding white and red wines during the run of the winery. Oasis Champagne (okay, sparkling wine) was judged one of the top 10 in the world one year. Every year, he worked to make his wines better.

His wines were some of the most consistent anywhere. He was one of the pioneers that put Virginia on the wine-making map and should be recognized for all of his contributions.

He was a serious student of wine-making, a talented artist who "painted" for fine food and everyone's palate. Dirgham willingly and enthusiastically shared his knowledge with anyone who would listen.

For all of us who had the good fortune to know Dirgham and his loving wife Corrine, we continue on through this life knowing that both of them made us just a bit richer.

Corrine, all our love -

Posted by: AgeOldDinosaur | October 13, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

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