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 7,000+ 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 over 180 American Wine Society 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 American Wine Society grew, the emphasis evolved to a shared vision of appreciating wine from across the globe and learning more about it.

Winemakers are integral to American Wine Society

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 American Wine Society!

 

 

American Wine Society Bylaws

2023-2024 Board of Directors

Bill Stefan

President

Heritage Hunt Chapter, VA
Member since 2017

Bill Stefan is an American Wine Society 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.

Eric Feldhake

Vice President

Walt Whitman Chapter, NJ
Member since 2002

Along with serving as American Wine Society Vice President, Eric has also been on the board of the American Wine Society Educational Foundation as General Counsel since 2017. Eric brings a wealth of wine knowledge to the position as an American Wine Society 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.

Ron Natalie

Secretary

Catawba Chapter, NC
Member since 2014

Ron founded the Catawba, North Carolina Chapter of the American Wine Society 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 American Wine Society 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.

Richard Berezinsky

Treasurer

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 American Wine Society 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.

Rex Bambling

Director of Competitions

Northern Loudoun County Chapter, VA
Member since 2003

Rex completed the American Wine Society 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 American Wine Society 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 Service

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.

Annemarie Morse

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 American Wine Society 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.

Colleen Reardon

Natalie Dippenaar

Executive Director

Member since 2023

Natalie holds an MBA, a BS in Computer Science, and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) with eight years’ experience in association management and five years as the general manager of a wine bar. In addition, she holds a WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits (Level 4), is a Certified Sherry Wine Specialist from the Consejo Regulador of D.O. Jerez-Xérès-Sherry and an Advanced Ambassador from Wines of Portugal Academy. She is working on her Spanish Wine Scholar through the Wine Scholar Guild and hopes one day to walk the Camino Frances through Northern Spain.

Colleen Reardon

Colleen Reardon

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.

The American Wine Society is proud to have earned the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar by Candid, the nation’s leading source of information on nonprofit organizations. With this designation, the American Wine Society joins fewer than 5 percent of the nation’s 1.8 million nonprofits who have committed themselves to the highest standards of disclosure and accountability.

American Wine Society 2023 Award of Merit

Joel Peterson

Joel Peterson, AKA the Godfather of Zin, has been a winemaker for 50 years. Joel founded and built Ravenswood into a powerhouse Zinfandel brand. Joel’s latest project is Once & Future Wine where he focuses on making small production, hand crafted single vineyard Zinfandels, resurrecting his old redwood fermenters that honor the distinctive typicity of site.

Joel was a senior vice president and member of the senior executive team at Constellation Brands for 15 years. A current member and former president of the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance (SVVGA), Joel has also served on the Board of Directors for the Sonoma County Vintners. A founding board member and former two-time president of ZAP, he is also an advisor to the Historic Vineyard Society. Joel was the lead winemaker and chairman of the Heritage Vineyard project, a joint project of ZAP and UC Davis to investigate Zinfandel clones. Joel is the long-time moderator for “Flights,” ZAP’s educational lecture series on Zinfandel. In 2011, Joel was inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame, and he was voted as one of the “20 Most Admired People in the North American Wine Industry” by Vineyard and Winery Management magazine.

 

 

 

Past American Wine Society Award of Merit recipients

Konstantin Frank, 1971Hudson Cattell, 1991Gordon Murchie, 2011
Charles Fournier, 1972Andrew C. Rice, 1992Jim Bernau, 2012
Leon D. Adams, 1973Vernon L. Singleton, 1993Dick Naylor, 2013
Willard B. Robinson, 1974Lucie T. Morton, 1994Gina Gallo, 2014
Philip & Jocelyn Wagner, 1975Alex & Louisa Hargrave, 1995Chuck Wagner, 2015
Maynard A. Amerine, 1976Warren Winiarski, 1996Peter Mondavi Sr., 2016
G. Hamilton Mowbray, 1977Arnulf W. Esterer, 1997The Frank Family, 2017
Harold P. Olmo, 1978Vincent Petrucci, 1998Paul Wagner, 2018
George W.B. Hostetter, 1979Justin Morris, 1999Randall Grahm, 2019
Andre Tchelistcheff, 1980Ann C. Noble, 2000Kevin Zraly, 2021
Alexander Brailow, 1981Peter M.F. Sichel, 2001Allen Shoup, 2022
Robert Mondavi, 1982Marian Baldy, 2002
Louis P. Martini, 1983Sharron McCarthy, 2003
Douglas & Marlene Moorhead, 1984Jonathan Newman, 2004
James F. Gallander, 1985Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, 2005
Philip Hiaring, 1986Angel Nardone, 2006
Richard P. Vine, 1987Jacques Recht, 2007
Harriet Lembeck, 1988Kent Rosemblum, 2008
Charles M. Crawford, 1989Zelma Long, 2009
Nelson J. Shaulis, 1990Eric & Lee Miller, 2010

American Wine Society 2023 Outstanding Member

Thomas Wallman

Tom joined the AWS in 1996, and since then has been active in the Dayton and Springfield, Ohio Chapters. He has been a member of the National Conference Committee since 2008, and has been responsible for wine procurement and logistics for the conference since 2009.

Elected to the AWS Board of Directors in 2015, Tom served six years as Treasurer. A CPA, and armed with more than 40 years of diversified financial and general business management experience, he helped guide AWS to its strongest financial position ever, just in time to help it weather the revenue losses resulting from the pandemic.

Over the past 16 years, Tom’s many thousands of hours dedicated to the AWS have largely occurred behind the curtain: in hotel coolers and service corridors, in self-storage lockers, box trucks, or buried deep in his PC. Or as he puts it, “just the way I prefer, out of the blinding glare of the spotlight.”

AWSEF logo

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 American Wine Society 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