David Millington, planter of Wroxeter Roman Vineyard, died on Wednesday, aged 78, having suffered from coronavirus.
He founded the popular wine-making attraction, near the historical Roman city south of Shrewsbury, in 1991, and his family confirmed he died in a care home.
David's son, Martin, and his wife, Amanda, said his knowledge on the industry was "second to none".
"David was a much-loved husband, father and grandfather," they said. "His knowledge was second to none, and he was a true mentor to many people, thus having a big impact on wine growing in this country."
The vineyard posted the news on its Facebook page, along with a photo of David and a message which said: "This evening has been very difficult as we sadly lost Martin’s dad David Millington due to Covid-19.
"This vineyard and others would not be here if it wasn’t for him. Raise a glass and please stay safe."
Touching tributes have since poured in, with residents flooding the online post with their condolences and fond memories of David and his establishment, which was handed over to Martin and Amanda in 2011.
Alison Sloan said: "So sorry to hear this. He and your family do and have done so much for the community, we will all miss him. David gave us a wonderful tour of the vineyard, the lavender field, the sheep, all on a glorious day of summer. A treasured memory from a long time ago."
Michelle Brazier said: "My thoughts are with you all during this very difficult and sad time.
"David was a lovely, caring gentleman, he will be missed by many people that knew him."
Ian Whitfield said: "Sad, sad news. David was a lovely, kind man, my thoughts are with you all."
The vineyard was conceived after David visited California on a business trip as an agricultural consultant before returning home and planting in early 1991.
The first crop of grape at Wroxeter Vineyard was produced from the 1992 harvest and it has since proved a popular attraction for enthusiasts and tourists across the country.