The American Wine Society
There’s always more to learn about wine
We are passionate wine explorers—both beginner and expert—who believe wine discovery is a fun and lifelong adventure that should be shared. Our 6,500 members are largely wine consumers, but also amateur and professional winemakers; chefs, restaurateurs and foodies; educators and students; journalists; wine suppliers and wineries.
We quench our thirst for wine knowledge through local tastings—there are 180 AWS chapters across the United States, and through regional and national wine events and formal training and wine courses. Each event is an opportunity to make new friends, share a glass of wine and learn about the history, culture and traditions involved in making and drinking wine.
Discover more about what is in your glass.
A history of sharing wine knowledge
The first American Wine Society meeting took place in Western New York at the vineyard of Dr. Konstantin Frank on Keuka Lake near Hammondsport on October 7, 1967. The inaugural meeting included 200 grape growers, home winemakers, and wine lovers. As AWS grew, the emphasis evolved to a shared vision of appreciating wine from across the globe and learning more about it.
Winemakers are integral to AWS
Most early members of the Society were winemakers, and the American Wine Society continues to value this key segment of our membership. Even today, a significant number of the members are amateur winemakers—a fact we take great pride in mentioning. Some of our amateur winemakers go on to commercial winemaking.
“Wine-growing and wine-drinking are attached at the roots to the most widespread and longest-lived civilizations the earth has known.”
– Hugh Johnson, author of the World Atlas of Wine
Wine exploration never stops
After a half century, the American Wine Society is still going strong, and growing every year. The subject of wine is nearly limitless and touches on geography, history, sociology, and science. Wine has survived civilizations, war, and famine. It has accompanied explorers, homesteaders, kings, and commoners; both in daily living, and in our most exceptional celebrations.
Come discover wine with AWS!
2023 Board of Directors
Member since 2017
Bill Stefan is an AWS Certified Wine Judge, student, writer, speaker, and amateur winemaker. Bill believes in promoting the appreciation of wine through education. He is a Certified Specialist of Wine and professional member of the Society of Wine Educators; Certified Sherry Wine Specialist by the Regulatory Council of Jerez-Xeres-Sherry Denomination of Origin; Certified Provence Master-Level with the Wine Scholar Guild; and level two of the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) program, passing with distinction. Bill has written numerous articles, including two papers accepted for presentation to the American Association of Wine Economists on “Super Bowl Ads: Lessons for Wine Neuro-Marketing Success” and the “Neuro-Science of Wine Flavor.” He has also spoken on wine in numerous fora, including the American Association of Wine Economists at Cornell University and Leadership Initiatives at Georgetown University on Neuro-Science in 2018-2020. As an amateur winemaker, Bill believes in learning by doing, having won numerous medals in national and international competitions, including one Best of Show, one Best Dessert Wine, 5 Double Gold, and 10 Gold Medals.
Walt Whitman Chapter, NJ
Member since 2002
Along with serving as AWS Vice President, Eric has also been on the board of the AWS Educational Foundation as General Counsel since 2017. Eric brings a wealth of wine knowledge to the position as an AWS Certified Wine Judge, Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) with the Society of Wine Educators, Wine and Spirits Educational Trust (WSET) Level 2 with Distinction, holder of an Advanced Wine Certificate from The Wine School of Philadelphia, and wine educator at Stockton University, Rowan University, and The Haddonfield Adult School. Eric is a shareholder at Kulzer & DiPadova, PA practicing Trust and Estates law, adjunct professor at Professor at Rowan University, Department of Entrepreneurship, and a retired JAG Officer with the United States Army Reserve where he served for over 32 years.
Catawba Chapter, NC
Member since 2014
Ron founded the Catawba, North Carolina Chapter of the AWS in 2009. He and his wife Margy serve as Co-chairs. He became a wine enthusiast after running a Marathon in Bordeaux, France. Ron is a WSET Level 2 and 3 Graduate with distinction, an AWS WJCP graduate and has worked on the wine judging competition in multiple capacities since 1993. Ron founded and was president of “Save Sherrills Ford, Inc.,” a non-profit organization working on local land-use issues and was a board member of the North Carolina Woodworkers Association, where, since 2011, he has also served as their webmaster.
Myrtle Beach Chapter, SC
Member since 2010
Rich has been involved with nonprofits for most of his career, in a variety of positions including CFO and Executive Director. He has an MBA and is a retired CPA. Rich became involved with AWS in 2010 and became Vice Chair and then Chair of a Chapter with over 150 members. When he retired and moved, he and his wife, Mary, formed a Chapter in their new hometown.
Director of Competitions
Northern Loudoun County Chapter, VA
Member since 2003
Rex completed the AWS Certified Wine Judge training program in 2011. While judging in local, regional, national, and international wine competitions, he became interested in all aspects of wine competitions. For the past four years, Rex has been coordinating the back room activities for the AWS competition held at the national conference. During these years, he has applied his background in software development to computerize many of the tedious and labor-intensive steps that are required to organize the wines, present them to the judging panels, and process the scoring results.
Carrie A. Garczynski
Director of Member Services
Denver Chapter, CO
Member since 2017
Carrie Garczynski, wine courtesan/owner of Carried Away, designs, develops and facilitates wine classes/dinners for public, private and corporate events focusing on the beauty, essence and verve wine brings to life, creating memorable experiences. With a background in corporate development and marketing, she has created numerous programs for a variety of organizations, ranging from a billion-dollar, privately-owned construction company to a quaint non-profit arts venue started in 1883. Shifting into the wonderful world of wine, she has achieved her WSET Level 3, International Spirits and Wine Guild Certified Executive Wine Sommelier, Certified Sr Wine Cellar Manager, and is pursuing her Society of Wine Education Certified Specialist of Wine and her WSET Level 4 Diploma. In addition, she has started ‘Wining With Wisdom’, an educational blind wine tasting group and is the Colorado RVP. She is a member of Women of the Vine & Spirits; Women’s Wine Guild of Colorado; Les Dégustateurs; Master Gardeners; and Evergreen Moonlight Gardening Club. When not dabbling in wine, Carrie enjoys skiing, gardening, golfing, traveling, playing outside and learning French.
Director of Education
Finger Lakes Chapter, NY
Member since 2010
Annemarie Morse has a master’s degree in oenology from Cornell University and has worked as an assistant winemaker, retail wine consultant, wine & food writer and educator. She has taught wine courses at a college level and guest lectured at Cornell University. She is an international OIV and certified wine judge and has taught classes for and managed the AWS wine judge certification program. She has studied Italian wine studies through VinItaly International Academy, OperaWine, VinItaly, BING (Best Indigenous Native Grapes), 3IC (Italian International Indigenous Wine and Food Studies Center) Educator’s course, and Indigena (Native Wine Grapes of Italy project) and is a certified specialist in the Wine and Food of Central Italy through 3IC (with Ian D’Agata), first level Sommelier, and currently studying for WSET Level 3 exam. Through her company, Wine By Annemarie, LLC, she provides consulting services to restaurants, hosts international wine tours, and provides wine and food seminars and/or classes for the community, private and corporate clients.
Member Service Manager
Electric City Chapter, PA
Member since 2021
Colleen joined the National Office staff as Member Service Manager in September of 2021. She brought a great deal of non-profit, marketing and communications experience to the position. Colleen has worked as a marketing manager for an international packaging equipment manufacturer and as an events and marketing manager for regional non-profit organizations. Earlier in her career she worked in magazine publishing in New York City and Northern VA.
Colleen has a BS in Marketing from the University of Scranton and a certificate in Website design from Penn State University.
AWS 2022 Award of Merit
Shortly before his passing, Allen Shoup received the 2022 Award of Merit at the AWS National Conference in Bellevue, WA.
Allen, forefather of the Washington wine industry, revived interest in Riesling and fostered the careers of numerous wine industry luminaries. With a reach that benefited the consumer and strengthened the wine industry, Allen helped create foundational organizations that continue to serve in the industry in Washington and nationally.
Allen began his career as a marketing director for Gallo. In 1980, he joined Chateau Ste. Michelle, a small, unnoticed winery in Woodinville. Over 20 years, he built Chateau Ste. Michelle and its affiliate wineries from a $5 million business to $175 million. He helped bring Riesling back to prominence in the US through Ste. Michelle’s Rieslings, and the successful Eroica collaboration with Ernest Loosen, helping spark the Riesling renaissance.
The American Wine Society Award of Merit is the highest honor consumers confer on wine industry practitioners, recognizing contributions that have strengthened the wine industry and improved the wine consumer experience. Recipients through the generations include Robert Mondavi, Gina Gallo, André Tchelistcheff, Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, among many others.
Past AWS Award of Merit recipients
|Konstantin Frank, 1971||Hudson Cattell, 1991||Gordon Murchie, 2011|
|Charles Fournier, 1972||Andrew C. Rice, 1992||Jim Bernau, 2012|
|Leon D. Adams, 1973||Vernon L. Singleton, 1993||Dick Naylor, 2013|
|Willard B. Robinson, 1974||Lucie T. Morton, 1994||Gina Gallo, 2014|
|Philip & Jocelyn Wagner, 1975||Alex & Louisa Hargrave, 1995||Chuck Wagner, 2015|
|Maynard A. Amerine, 1976||Warren Winiarski, 1996||Peter Mondavi Sr., 2016|
|G. Hamilton Mowbray, 1977||Arnulf W. Esterer, 1997||The Frank Family, 2017|
|Harold P. Olmo, 1978||Vincent Petrucci, 1998||Paul Wagner, 2018|
|George W.B. Hostetter, 1979||Justin Morris, 1999||Randall Grahm, 2019|
|Andre Tchelistcheff, 1980||Ann C. Noble, 2000|
|Alexander Brailow, 1981||Peter M.F. Sichel, 2001|
|Robert Mondavi, 1982||Marian Baldy, 2002|
|Louis P. Martini, 1983||Sharron McCarthy, 2003|
|Douglas & Marlene Moorhead, 1984||Jonathan Newman, 2004|
|James F. Gallander, 1985||Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, 2005|
|Philip Hiaring, 1986||Angel Nardone, 2006|
|Richard P. Vine, 1987||Jacques Recht, 2007|
|Harriet Lembeck, 1988||Kent Rosemblum, 2008|
|Charles M. Crawford, 1989||Zelma Long, 2009|
|Nelson J. Shaulis, 1990||Eric & Lee Miller, 2010|
AWS 2022 Outstanding Regional
The 2022 Outstanding Regional Ambassador (RA) award was given to Gary Lum. Gary is a very visible leader on the chapter, regional and at the national level.
Gary is the Regional Ambassador for Northern California and Chapter Chair for the East Bay Chapter where he developed a dedicated and highly enthusiastic group.
Gary has shown significant knowledge and a unique willingness to share and spread his knowledge to others. Gary’s preparation for each event has always been extensive, global and unique.
Gary has been very helpful and supportive in creating the new Napa/Solano Chapter.
AWS 2022 Outstanding Member
Kristin Casler Kraft
The 2022 Outstanding Member award was given to Kristin Casler Kraft.
Kristen’s spirit embodies the true meaning of volunteerism. She is always willing to devote her time and professional knowledge to benefit the organization.
Her willingness to contribute has made a significant impact on the organization. Whether it is editing some promotional copy or serving on a committee, Kristin is always willing to help and does so with grace and a smile!
Operating seperately from its parent American Wine Society organization, the American Wine Society Educational Foundation (AWSEF) advances the viticultural and enological sciences to achieve a world-class North American wine industry. The Foundation relies on AWS members to help provide academic scholarships and research grants to full-time graduate students in North America based on academic excellence and genuine interest in pursuing careers in wine-related fields