AWS News – April 2023

Apr 23, 2023



Election time is coming. Nominees, get ready!

AWS members will soon receive an email from the Governance Committee seeking nominees for Director of Member Services and Treasurer, with terms beginning January 1.

AWS is rejuvenating our social media. Help us by liking and sharing!

We’re re-emphasizing social media as a fun tool for members to stay in touch with each other and a great marketing avenue to new members.

The “Show Me” State shows up big time

Read the latest about the 56th AWS National Conference scheduled for November 9–11, with logistics being worked out, sponsors announced, and volunteers enlisted!

Springtime with the Amateur Wine Competition

As you prepare to bottle your next vintage, don’t forget to set aside some bottles for this year’s Amateur Wine Competition

The NTP gears are in motion for 2023

We are judging Southern Rhone wines, and several chapters have already reported on the excellent quality of the wines. They’re still available from the retailer, although supplies are dwindling.

AWSEF: How to fund a scholarship . . .

Foundation President Kristen Lindelow shares ingenious ideas from various chapters and offers a reminder that Trustee posts will be up for election later this year.

Second Annual Saperavi Festival in the Finger Lakes

Head to Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery in New York State next month to taste a wide selection of wines crafted from the Saperavi and Rkatsiteli grape varieties.

Winemaker’s corner: 5 additional things to consider before you bottle your wine

Kevin Kourofsky presents 5 ways to up your game and improve your wine.

Obituary: Joyce Vecchiolli

This longtime member of American Wine Society and its Outstanding Member in 2012, died January 25.

Chapter events

Your fellow AWS members have had some exceptional experiences lately; read what they’ve been up to. And, consider volunteering to help keep them informed.

Election time is coming. Nominees, get ready!

Each year, the American Wine Society seeks members who want to become national officers of our society, and we’ve always been fortunate that many members have come forward to selflessly contribute their time and talents in the management and advancement of our organization.

As it has since 2020, the Governance Committee this year again will lead the recruiting, evaluation, and vetting of future board members who will stand for election; you can expect an email from the committee regarding nominations within the next few weeks.

This year, we will seek members to serve in the following leadership positions, with elections in August for terms beginning on January 1, 2024:

Finding the right people is critical to our success

When we have more candidates running for officer positions, we can provide the widest range of diversity, skill sets, and contribution of exciting ideas for the society’s current and future growth and existence — and, most important, the overall enhancement of your and your fellow members’ experiences.

What we ask you to do

Please read the job descriptions available through the links above and consider your qualifications, interest, and willingness to contribute your time and skills to leading the society. If you don’t think you’re the right person but know another member who fits the requirements, then ask that person to consider running for office.

Should you decide to become or find a candidate, simply get in touch with the Governance Committee at this email ( by the deadline specified. Anyone who expresses interest in being a nominee will receive the following:

  • A form to provide a brief biographical statement for the desired position.
  • Documents that each potential candidate should review and sign, including a Consent to Serve form, the AWS Conflict of Interest policy, and the Governing Board booklet.

AWS is rejuvenating our social media. Help us by liking and sharing!

With our 6,000 members across 180+ chapters, AWS members have a lot going on, and we want to let everyone know about it. This is why AWS is making a push for greater visibility for members and non-members through social media.

While our social media presence isn’t new, we’re re-emphasizing it as a fun tool for members to stay in touch with each other and a great marketing avenue to new members.Social media accounts

To do this, we need your help. Please follow us at:

You can like and share our posts with your friends and followers to spread the word about how much fun we have!

If you lead a chapter and you haven’t already created accounts for Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter, please do so. Once you have chapter social media accounts, you can follow the AWS national account. And, let us know about your account so we can follow you, too.

If chapters or individuals have questions or have images and info from your latest AWS events, send them to

One final note: Be sure the members in your photos have agreed to posting on social media.

See you online!

The “Show Me” State shows up big timeAWS conference logo for St. Louis, Missouri

Planning for the 56th AWS National Conference scheduled for November 9–11 is well under way! The Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, is a beautiful hotel with lots of space, and we are excited to have it host our conference this year.

In February, former AWS Treasurer Tom Wallman (who still handles wine logistics), Member Service Manager Colleen Reardon, and I traveled there to determine items such as session rooms, the banquet hall, wine movement during conference, competition arrangements, and all the other many details that help the conference run smoothly.

We also met with 18 of our Missouri AWS members to start forming our conference committee. We excitedly discussed ideas (over a glass of wine, naturally) regarding how to make this conference another amazing experience. I extend a hearty thank-you to each of them; their enthusiasm shows how many great members are in Missouri, and I know we are going to put on an incredible event!

Sponsorships announced

We are thrilled to announce that Missouri Wines is sponsoring our welcome reception. The Missouri wine industry has a heritage of more than 180 years, with strong historical roots producing unique quality wines. We look forward to tasting what Missouri wines are all about!Stone Hill WineryMissouri Wines

Another BIG sponsor is Stone Hill Winery. Stone Hill Winery is sponsoring a wine at the Sparkling Breakfast; all wines at the Friday lunch; the Showcase of wines; and bottles of Norton and the winery’s award-winning Cream Sherry for each table at the Grand Banquet. Stone Hill’s vineyards span 7 sites surrounding the Hermann, Missouri, area. As the state’s largest grape grower, Stone Hill is dedicated to growing its own grapes for its wines. In 1983, Hermann was honored as one of the nation’s first federally designated AVAs.

More sponsorships needed

We are currently looking for a sponsor for Saturday’s lunch and a place to which we can ship wines where they can be held until the conference and the wine competition. If you have any ideas, please reach out to me directly at

Diane Meyer

Diane Meyer, Conference Chair

Act now to reserve your room

You already can book your room at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch and take advantage of a special group rate by using this link to book your room now. Rates start at $145 per night, plus taxes, depending on type of room and the view selected.

Also, be sure to leave time for any special excursions, as well as our offerings of Wine Judge Certification, Wine & Spirit Education Trust, Wine Smarts (formerly SuperTasting Series), and more.

Look for more details and a full agenda in the summer.


Springtime with the Amateur Wine Competition

Planning is already under way for the 2023 competition! As you prepare to bottle your next vintage, don’t forget to set aside some bottles for this year’s Amateur Wine Competition.

As Diane notes above in her update regarding the 56th National Conference, we are still working on arranging for a wine-receiving facility in St. Louis, so be sure to check our competition website for developments regarding where to send your wine. I anticipate registration to begin sometime after the Fourth of July; past registrants will receive an email announcing when we are ready to begin this year’s registration.

If you have winemaking groups or businesses that would want competition information, or additional improvements, send a note to me at

Vince Williams, CSW
Chair, Amateur Wine Competition

Toasting muffins

The NTP gears are in motion for 2023

If you are interested in the NTP, please visit the National Tasting Project website. AWS members who are either a chapter chair, regional ambassador (RA), or NTP organizer can register to receive the most recent NTP updates.

Any chapter or AWS member can organize an NTP. It’s fun to taste, judge, discuss, and compare scores. (Not enough members in your chapter or maybe members don’t want to travel? Make it a Zoom NTP!)

After your registration is reviewed and approved, log in to view the organizer’s menu items for more information and details regarding how to order wines.

Mike Blake

Mike Blake, NTP coordinator

This year we are judging Southern Rhone wines. Several chapters have already reported on the excellent quality of the wines after judging. Wines are still available from the retailer, although supplies are dwindling. Remember, any registered NTP organizer can order the NTP wines.

As a bonus, the retailer offers a 20% discount to any AWS member for any regularly priced (that is, not on sale) wines from its online store. Ask your NTP organizer for the discount code.

Need more information about NTP or anything mentioned in this article? Feel free to contact me by email at

AWSEF: How to fund a scholarship . . . 

Thanks to the efforts of various chapters and our corporate sponsor, Banfi Vintners Foundation, the American Wine Society Educational Foundation (AWSEF) is pleased to have 7 scholarships ready to be awarded to worthy students this year. (The application period closed March 31, and we are currently reviewing qualified applicants.) Scholarships will be awarded in early June…stay tuned!

Getting a chapter involvedAWSEF logo

How have some chapters managed to raise $3,500 to $5,000 to fund a scholarship? I have learned of several truly “painless” ways, and I will happily share their ingenious ideas with you. Remember, you don’t have to have a really large chapter to do this!

For example, the North Alabama AWS chapter adds $2 per person to the cost of each tasting. If the tasting fees come to $21 each, the chapter charges members $23, with the extra $2 going straight into its Scholarship Fund.

Members also hold a raffle during each tasting that works like this: Members bring a bottle of wine or a wine-related item to the tasting to start the meeting, the items to be raffles are gathered in one place, and a member sells raffle tickets to those attending. Tickets are $1 each ($5 gets you 6 tickets). A ticket is drawn after each wine is tasted, and the winner get their pick of the donated items. Often, 2 or 3 bottles are raffled after each wine as there are that many items donated!

Slow and steady is fine

It’s okay if a chapter takes a few years to collect enough funds to sponsor a scholarship. You can send us whatever funds you have collected whenever you like, and we’ll keep track of your scholarship fund account.

How does your chapter raise funds? I welcome your suggestions and will share them in future newsletters. Cheers!

Election of AWSEF Trustees

The next election for AWSEF Trustees will be held late this summer via Survey Monkey for 4-year terms to begin January 1, 2024. The AWSEF bylaws state that the Board of Trustees consists of 6 people who are elected by our members, plus the current AWS President and a General Counsel. The following Trustees will be either completing their term and/or are up for reelection:  Kristen Lindelow, Patricia Green, and Walt Rachele.

We invite you to consider running for a position on our Board, which works together with the AWS to support our education mission. The timetable for the election process is as follows:

  • June 30: Applications due.
  • September 1-30: Elections conducted via Survey-Monkey’s online survey platform through an email to each member.
  • No later than October 15: Candidates notified of election results.
  • November 6: Successful candidates introduced at the AWS Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, during the AWSEF Saturday breakfast.
  • November 12: Successful candidates attend the in-person board meeting from 9 a.m. to noon at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch. (Other Board meetings throughout the year are video or audio conferences.)

Applying to be a Trustee

Krsten Lindelow, President of AWSEF

Kristen Lindelow, President of AWSEF

Applying is as simple as providing two short paragraphs of up to 75 words each. The first paragraph should emphasize the candidate’s qualifications (years of AWS membership, committee activities, wine-related or other nonprofit board activities, etc.) The second paragraph should indicate goals the candidate would like to help the AWSEF accomplish, if elected.

You do not need to possess any special educational qualifications for the Trustee position, just enthusiasm, dedication and a desire to help.

Please contact me for more information on the duties of Trustees, the application process, or the election procedures. Your application, including name, address, phone number(s) and should be emailed to me,

Note: With the exception of the position of Treasurer, all positions are general Trustee positions and the Board, as a group, collaboratively determines which Board duties each Trustee assumes.

Second Annual Saperavi Festival in the Finger Lakes

Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery in Hammondsport, New York, will host the 2nd annual Saperavi Festival on Saturday, May 13, 2023, from noon to 4 p.m.

Attendees will have the opportunity to taste a wide selection of wines crafted from the Saperavi and Rkatsiteli grape varieties, which are native to the country of Georgia and have been grown in the Finger Lakes region for more than 60 years. The festival will bring together wine producers from the Finger Lakes region and their counterparts from the country of Georgia and throughout the United States.

The wines will be paired with Georgian food specialties such as Khachapuri, Khinkali and Chakapuli, provided by New York City restaurant Chama Mama. Cooking demonstrations will be presented throughout the afternoon.

More details and tickets are available for purchase at Eventbrite via this link. Through May 5, general admission to the festival is $120, plus a $10.41 processing fee.

The festival is organized by Saperica Inc, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation organized to promote Saperavi and other Georgian grape varieties along with Georgian gastronomy and culture in the Finger Lakes, N.Y, and around the U.S. Sponsorship is being provided by the National Wine Agency of Georgia.

Winemaker’s corner: 5 additional things to consider before you bottle your wine

Kevin Kourofsky

Kevin Kourofsky

Everyone should visit and have a chat with their wine from time to time, and especially before bottling.

It’s then when you remind your latest vintage of your expectations and your wine’s obligations. You must be firm: No fizzy bottles for a still wine. You must also be supportive as you don’t want your wine to sulk and go bad on you. And while you’re there, you can make sure your carboys are topped up and your airlocks are full.

A few years ago, Kevin suggested 5 basic steps before bottling. Now, he presents 5 more to up your game and improve your wine.

Read more .

Obituary: Joyce Vecchiolli

Joyce Vecchiolli, a longtime member of American Wine Society and its Outstanding Member in 2012, died January 25.

AWS President Jane Duralia (left) and Outstanding Member Joyce Vecchiolli in 2012

She was a former Regional Vice President of AWS, for many years the chapter chair of the Premier Cru Chapter in southeastern Pennsylvania, and served as AWS National Vice President in 1989. She also was AWS-certified as a wine judge and judged both regional and national competitions.

She served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the AWS Educational Foundation from 2004 to 2007, raising funds as director of the silent auction at National Conferences.

Outside of AWS, Joyce was active with Philadelphia High School for Girls, and was an elementary school teacher for 37 years at Sugartown School in the Great Valley School District in Pennsylvania; she also worked for the Main Line night school, and volunteered at the Philadelphia Flower Show.

A memorial service was held April 22 at D’Anjolell Memorial Home in Broomall, Pennsylvania. Its website has additional biographical information, along with a memorial video.

Why drink wine

Chapter events

To have your chapter’s event included in the AWS News, e-mail your tasting results to Sending it to any other email address risks getting it overlooked.

Be sure to follow the format specified for Chapter Events, which you can download from the AWS website.

Include the cost of the wines you tasted, plus scores or rankings. This information lets other members know what you liked and which wines were good values.

AND … please send us sharp, interesting pictures from your event. We would love to share those, too.


North Wake ChapterOn January 22, the North Wake (NC) Chapter held a meeting and tasting at Heritage View Clubhouse in Wake Forest with 39 members attending. Several new members attended for the first time. Our chapter continues to grow. The month’s theme was value wines, and all were selected from Wine Spectator’s top 100 wines of 2022.

Presenter Greg Hedrick reminded us that the 6 wines we tasted were not just from the top 100 value wines, but from the magazine’s list of all the top wines of 2022. All but one were priced under $25 in the Raleigh area. We tasted one sparkling wine, two whites, and three reds from various wine regions around the world. Once again, our tasting proved that value wines can also be fine drinking wines.

  • 2020 Joseph Maria Raventos Blanc de Blanc (Spain) (5) #29 on the Wine Spectator list
  • 2021 Alma de Cattleya Sauvignon Blanc (Sonoma) (3) #28
  • 2021 A.A. Badenhorst Family Chenin Blanc (South Africa) (6) #56
  • 2020 Damilano Barbera d’Asti (Italy) (4) #61
  • 2018 Finca Decero Malbec (Argentina) (2) #23
  • 2019 Bookwalter Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley) (1) #41

The Venice (FL) Vinos Chapter held a tasting on Sunday, January 29, at the clubhouse at Village Walk in Sarasota, Florida hosted by Theresa Sentel. Forty members and guests brought food to share and were treated to wines from Spain.

  • 2018 Marques De Mon Prem brut Cava RSV, $16
  • 2021Chopo Jumilla Monstrell Rose, $17
  • 2021 Latitud 42 Rueda Ecologico, $12 (best value)
  • 2021 Val Do Sosego Albarino Rias Baixas, $16
  • 2021 Veula Ribera del Duero Tempranillo, $18
  • 2019 Gotin del Risc Bierzo Mencia, $20
  • 2019 La Conreria Priorat Tinto, $25 (best wine)

We held a wonderful tasting with our newest chapter at a small winery located in the heart of the Grand River Valley (OH) Chapter. We tasted 9 wines while Eric, the winemaker, educated us about each. SeveralGrand River Valley (OH) Chapter of them were side-by-side comparisons, all estate-grown from Silver Crest Winery. We learned about the differences between vineyards and vintages, including two pre-released wines we tasted to round out this delightful afternoon surrounded by 12 close AWS members and guests.

  • 2020 Gewürztraminer, $15
  • 2018 Dry Riesling, $24
  • 2020 Chardonnay, $23
  • 2020 Cabernet Franc Rose, $28
  • 2021 Meritage Rose (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon) (pre-release)
  • 2018 Dornfelder, $25
  • 2018 Meritage (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon), $38 – winner
  • 2017 Cabernet Franc, $30
  • 2018 Cabernet Franc, (pre-release)

At our January 20 tasting, the San Luis Obispo (CA) Chapter sampled Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile and the Central Coast. Our guest speaker was Jeff Huskey, winemaker at Ragtag Wine Company in San Luis Obispo. Jeff generously poured a complementary taste of Ragtag 2017 Meritage, a blend of Bordeaux varietals. Wines tasted were:

  • 2020 Castoro “Estate” Paso Robles, $26
  • 2021 Caliza “End of the Day” Paso Robles, $32
  • 2019 Lapstolle “Cuvee Alexandre” Chile-Apalta D.O., $26 (3)
  • 2019 Casa Del Bosque “Gran Bosque” Private Reserve Chile-Maipo D.O., $60
  • 2019 De Martino “Legado” Chile-Maipo D.O., $18
  • 2017 Ragtag Paso Robles-El Pomar, $38 (1)
  • 2019 Rangeland Paso Robles-Adelaida, $14
  • 2018 Peñalolen Chile-Maipo D.O., $18
  • 2015 Eberle-Estate Vineyard Paso Robles, $52 (2)

The January tasting for the Lehigh Valley (PA) Chapter included an array of Tuscan Wines presented by Sal Marino from F. Magnotta, LLC, an importer and distributor of fine Italian wines.

Sal shared with us his knowledge of Tuscan wines and the wineries from some of the region’s top producers. He is also the son of one of the owners of Ecco Domani in Coopersburg, where we enjoyed a true Italian-style buffet dinner that complemented the wines. Fifty-two chapter members and their guests enjoyed this lovely and delicious event, featuring 8 wines.

  • Wine & Appellation Price Avg. Score Std. Dev. Rank
  • Castello Di Meleto Borgaio Vermentino, $15
  • San Felo Viognier, $16
  • Rocco Chianti Classico, $19
  • Rocco Sangiovese IGT, $18
  • Ciacci Piccolomini Ateo, $21 (3)
  • Ciacci Piccolomini Fabius, $25
  • Ciacci Piccolomini Rosso di Montalcino, $30 (2)
  • Ciacci Piccolomini Brunello di Montalcino, $55 (1)

The Emerald Coast (FL) Chapter met on January 29, at the home of Pam Davey for a tasting featuring Clean Wines. Twenty-seven members and 2 guests were present.  Greg Neely of Scout and Cellar was the co-host and reviewed how the wines for the tasting were grown with no pesticides on the grape, and nothing added to the juice.

The most discussed additive to wine is sulfite.  Sulfites are naturally occurring in more food products and only about 1% of people are truly allergic to sulfites. Any wine with more than 10/ppm must label that wine has sulfites in it. However dried fruits contain roughly 1000/ppm. Also, sulfites in white wine are higher than those in red wine.

One way to remove sulfites is to use 1/3 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide per bottle of wine.

  • 2021 Gallivant Chardonnay from California by Scout and Cellar, $26 (2)
  • 2021 Fieldhouse 301 Pinot Noir from California by Scout and Cellar, $26
  • 2018 Soleil Vent. Ame from France by Scout and Cellar, $28 (3)
  • 2019 Che Fico Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Italy by Scout and Cellar, $24
  • Bookbinders Apprentice 4th edition from Washington by Scout and Cellar, $18 (1)
  • 2021 Dove Hunt Dog Cabernet from California by Scout and Cellar, $26

There is lot of controversy over clean wines and their place in the wine industry. During this tasting we were asked if we were we were worth it. Shouldn’t we know how our wine is made, what is in it, and where it has been?


The Catawba (NC) Chapter explored sparkling wines for our February 2023 meeting. Margy Natalie did a wonderful presentation on how sparkling wines are made, and we explored sparkling wines from around the world — we even had one from New Mexico … and the evening would not have been complete without us hearing some “Tiny Bubbles” from Don Ho. Here is our wine list:

  • Social wine 1: Chandon Garden Spritz (47% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir, 20% Semillon) Argentina. $10.
  • Social wine 2: Casa Garcia Vinho Verde (Trajadura, Loureiro, Pedernã, and Azal) Portugal, $7
  • Masottina Contradagranda Prosecco Superiore. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG (Glera) Italy, $13.
  • Stella Rosa Muscato D’Asti. Moscato D’Asti DOCG (Moscato Bianco), Italy, $11.
  • Cava Vilarnau Brut Reserva. Barcelona (50% Macabeo, 35% Paralleada, 15 % Chardonnay) Spain, $12.
  • Loosen Riesling Extra Dry Sekt. Germany, $25.
  • Chateau Gruet Brut. American Sparking Wine (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir), $13.
  • Simonsig 2020 Kaapse Vonkel Brut. Method Cap Classique (51% Chardonnay, 47% Pinot Noir, 2% Pinot Meunier) Stellenbosch, South Africa, $22.
  • Vueve Ambal Grande Cuvee Brut. Cremant de Bourgogne AOC (Pinot Noir, Gamay, and a touch of Chardonnay) France, $13.
  • Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Cuvee Brut (50% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, 20% Chardonnay), $39.99

Thirty-three members and 3 guests met at the American Legion for February 10 tasting by the King George (VA) Wine Society. Rita Allan led the chapter through a back-to-basics blind tasting emphasizing wine characteristics and production practices with each wine focusing on a different aspect.

The first wine was introduced to address color and intensity, the second to recognize it for sweetness vs fruitiness, and the third wine topic was to develop the concept of body and reflecting back to the first two wine topics to help determine the varietal. These first 3 wines were all whites. Wine four, the first red, focused on observing intensity, concentration and complexity- to experience the wine through the nose and tongue. The fifth wine was to help recognize the difference between the concept of a dry wine (the level of sweetness) vs the concept of tannin and the last wine addressed secondary characteristics from production and we discussed how a winemaker uses oak as an influence in the final product.

As the chapter had many new members, this educational program was well timed but was instructional for all who attended.

The Princeton Uncorked (MA) Chapter met on  February 11 for a tasting of Less Popular Wines. More often than not, you grab a bottle of your regular popular wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, etc). This meeting was meant to open the door to new options.

Uncorked’s member Maria Elena chose Assyrtiko, Gruner Veltliner and Falanghina as the whites and a Morgon Beaujolais, Blaufrankisch, Mencia, Nerello Mascalese, Turiga Nacional as some red options. She challenged the 12 attendees to choose a popular wine that these options could be a substitute for. It was decided we need to revisit these options more.

The favorite white wine was a close call, split between the 2020 Gruber Roschitz Gruner Veltliner Roschitz Weinviertel Dac Reserve ($35) and the 2021 Donnachiara Falanghina Beneventano ($18).

The favorite reds of the evening were:

  • 2018 Vernice Peidirosso Flapper Girl, $25 (1)
  • 2019 Casale Brurio Nerello MAscalese, $15 (2)
  • 2017 Quintas Das Carvalhas Touriga Nacional, $22 (3)

The Myrtle Beach (SC) Chapter met February 16, for All Things Sparkling presented by Mary Clair Bretz. Chair and co-chair Richard & Mary Berezinsky and 33 members/guests sampled sparkling wines from several countries using non-traditional champagne grapes. We learned about the different types of glasses that work best with sparklers and even tasted a little-known Italian sparkling wine called Franciacorta.

  • Borrasca Premium cuvee French sparkling, $20
  • Insito Brut Reserva Cava (Spain), $14
  • Vigneti Cenci La Via Della Seta Franciacorta, $31
  • Louis Bouillon Perle D’Aurore Brut Rose Cremant, $19
  • Piper-Heidsieck brut champagne, $40
  • DaLuca Italian Sparkling, $19
  • Borrasca Prosecco (Italy), $14
  • Stella Rosa Asti D.O.C.G, $16

The Southport (NC) Chapter met on Friday evening, February 17, at the St. James Community Center. The event was hosted by co-chairs Dave and Vicki Caruso. Our meeting had 59 members and 4 guests in attendance. The theme was “Wines from the Northern Rhône Valley.”

We reviewed the latest AWS National news as well as the AWS activities and sponsored cruises in 2024. We discussed the local wine events in NC and celebrated birthdays of our members.

We broke down the 8 AOCs (AOPs): Côte Rôtie, Condrieu, Chateau-Grillet, St. Joseph, Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Cornas, and St. Péray.  We reviewed the history, terroir, viticulture and viniculture aspects of the region as well as the 4 grape varietals (and their attributes) that were prominent in each region (Syrah/Shiraz, Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne). Members brought food pairings to taste with each of the wines. All enjoyed the evening.

The following wines were discussed, tasted, and ranked by the membership. In order or rank, they were:

  • 2020 Maison Brotte Versant Dore Condrieu, $48
  • 2019 Maison Brotte Les Murets Côte Rôtie, $60
  • 2021 Domaine des Martinelles, $31
  • 2018/19 Terroir de Granit Domaine Guy Farge, $40
  • 2018 Jean-Luc Colombo Cornas Les Terres Brulees, $64
  • 2020 Maison Les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage, $29

The North Fulton (GA) Chapter held its first Zoom tasting of 2023 on Saturday, February 18. A huge shout-out and thank you to Liz Toler for her help in a great tasting.

Jerry Mueller from Robller Vineyard shared tremendous knowledge not only about his award-winning wines, but also a little history on the wine industry in Missouri. It was an absolute delight having him join us. He is truly producing some incredible wines in Missouri! Thank you again Rick and Jeanne for helping make this introduction possible.  I can see us partnering with Jerry and Robller again in the future! Here are the wines we enjoyed:

  • St Vincent Rose, $20
  • Vinoles Reverse 2021 (mirrors a Chenin Blanc), $24
  • Norton 2020, $24
  • Chambourcin Reserve 2017, $40 (winning wine of the evening).

The Emerald Coast (FL) Chapter met on February 26 at the home of Pam Davey for a tasting featuring Portugal wines.  We welcomed 3 new members and 6 guests.  Alex Boykin was our speaker and shared his personal knowledge on the region.Emerald Coast (FL) Chapter

Winemaking in Portugal can be tracked back to the Phoenicians in 10th century B.C. and grape growing can be traced back to 30,000 B.C. on the Doura Coast.  The first DOC was assigned in 1756 with standards updated as recently as 2003.  There are over 250 varieties of grape that grow in Portugal and many of them don’t grow anywhere else.

The selections, all purchased at Total Wine, were:

  • 2021 Caiu a Noite, Vinho Verde, $12
  • 2017 Praxo de Roriz Douro, $15
  • 2018 Dela force Touriga Nacional Doura, $29 (2)
  • 2019 Meandro Do Vale Meao Douro, $28
  • Offley White Porto, $20
  • Graham’s Six Grapes, $23 (1)
  • Graham’s 10-Year Tawny, $38 (3)

Many people when they think of Portugal they think of the very sweet ports. Through the tasting Emerald Coasts members were able to try various types of wine from white, rose, ruby and tawney.  We also experienced several styles like vintage and colheita. The wines of Portugal are worth a look by any chapter thinking of going on the AWS riverboat cruise in 2024.

The Venice (FL) Vinos Chapter held a tasting on Sunday, February 26, at the home of Deb and Mike Watchowski. It was co-hosted by Debbie and Terry Rogers and featured wines from Cooper’s Hawk winery. Deb prepared a roast and sides were supplied by attendees. The wines featured included four years of barrel reserve. Four starter wines were also from Cooper’s Hawk.

  • Blanc de Blanc, $20
  • SAG white (Screen Actors Guild), $22
  • 2017 Barrel Reserve red, $38 (favorite wine)
  • 2018 Barrel Reserve red, $38
  • 2020 Barrel Reserve red, $38
  • 2021 Barrel Reserve red, $38

North Wake (NC) ChapterOn February 26, the North Wake (NC) Chapter held a meeting and tasting at Heritage View Clubhouse in Wake Forest with 48 members and guests attending. Chapter Treasurer Randy Screen presented 6 Cabernet Sauvignons from various California AVAs.

We discussed the different wine making styles from the six regions: Lake County, Sonoma, Napa, Lodi, Central Coast, and Paso Robles. Prices ranged from $19 to $38, and the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes ranged from 84% to 94%.

The highest scoring wine, from Paso Robles, had a price of $20 and also had the lowest percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Many members were interested to see the wide variety of qualities within the wines, considering they were all from California. Several of the wines were less tannic than what we often expect from a California cab. Co-chair Jay Davis reported that a website is in the works for our chapter.

  • 2019 Obsidian Ridge, Lake County $38 (4)
  • 2018 Whitehall Lane Rassi, Sonoma $30 (6)
  • 2018 Vinum Cellars Typesetter, Napa $35 (2)
  • 2020 Oak Farm Tievoli $19 (3)
  • 2020 Ian Brand Le P‘tit Paysan, Central Coast $23 (5)
  • 2019 Vina Robles Limited Selection, Paso Robles $20 (1)

When 3 wise men and 11 grapes gather, what is the result? It was the February tasting of the Lehigh Valley (PA) Chapter, featuring wines of Southern Rhone and hosted by Kevin Campbell at the Carriage House Restaurant in East Greenville, PA.

Fifty-two LVAWS members and guests tasted 11 Southern Rhône wines as our three wise men — Barry Isett, Percy Dougherty, and Mick Hasson — shared impressions of the region while giving their insights as past wine judges. Our three wise men became very active members and friends for many years.Lehigh VAlley (PA) Chapter

All attendees enjoyed a delicious buffet-style dinner and learned a lot about wines from Southern Rhône. The top scoring wines were:

  • Domaine Durieu Lucile Avril (CS) from the Chateauneuf region, $36 (1)
  • Domaine de Marcoux La Lorentine from the Lirac regio, $30 (2)
  • Granges Des Papes from the Chateauneuf region, $40 (3)
  • La Cave l’Hallali Grand Reserve, $25 (4)

The Frederick (MD) Chapter decided to change it up a bit for its February monthly tasting. We are fortunate to have Tin Lizzie Wineworks, the Winemaker Magazine 2022 Winemaking School of the Year, in our backyard, so we took advantage of that and held our tasting at their facility.

Dave Zuchero, the owner/wine guru of Tin Lizzie graciously opened some of his award-winning wines for our enjoyment. We had a quick tour of the facility, and then enjoyed Dave’s wine, and a pot luck provided by all the members. All the wines were true expressions of the varietal, and many were also AWS Award winners. The wines we enjoyed were:

  • 2021 Rose’ (Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Mixed Blacks) from Lodi, CA – AWS Bronze
  • 2021 Sauvignon Blanc from Lodi, CA – AWS Double Gold
  • 2020 Chardonnay from Los Carneros AVA, CA – AWS Silver
  • 2019 Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley, CA – AWS Silver
  • 2021 Aglianico from Costamagna Vineyards, Lodi, CA
  • 2018 Syrah from Stagecoach Vineyards, Atlas Peak AVA, Napa, CA – AWS Double Gold
  • 2019 Left Bank Bordeaux Style Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec) from Krupp Brothers and Edcora Vineyards, Napa, CA

An enthusiastic crowd of 60 eager tasters gathered in February at the Ocean Isle Beach (NC) Chapter tasting to settle once and for all who makes better wine — men or women?

The fun-filled evening began with a drawing for a beautiful basket of wine and treats. This raffle helped the chapter raise enough money to fund our second AWS educational scholarship to be awarded this year!Ocean Isle Beach (NC) basket raffle

Each guest had 2 wine glasses, and blind pours were shared of 4 different varietals of wine. After each varietal comparative pour, guests voted on their favorite (A or B) before knowing if it was from a male or a female winemaker. Some votes were oh so close! And, while male winemakers won the categories, 3–1, all in attendance were the real winners with good wine to savor!

#1 The Pinot Grigio Battle 

  • F Stephen Millier, $10
  • Karen Birmingham, $13

#2  The Chardonnay Clash

  • Camille Benitah (North Coast), $17
  • Scott Kelly (Oregon), $18

#3 The Shiraz Skirmash

  • Adam Barton (Rabbit & Spaghetti), $27
  • Jen Pfeiffer (Rock It Like a Redhead), $21

#4 The Cabernet Campaign

  • Sharon Weeks (Cattoo), $16
  • Richard Bruno, $27


Master of Ceremonies Stan BarwiskowskiSixty members of the Ocean Isle Beach (NC) Chapter were welcomed in March with paparazzis snapping photos as they receiving a bubbling champagne flute of prosecco and walked a red carpet to experience “Wine and a Movie.” Guest hosts Mary and Rich Berezinsky, co-chairs of the Myrtle Beach (SC) Chapter, took us to Hollywood and Vine to share their viewpoint on the impact of wine in the movies.

Master of Ceremonies Stan Barwikowski shared a humorous monologue, setting the stage for an evening of laughter and fun. The gathering brought out glitz and glamor and lots of stars, along with delightful movie clips highlighting some of Hollywood’s wine selections in well-known motion pictures. This was definitely an Oscar-worthy gathering, celebrating good movies and great wines!

  • Bottle Shock: 2019 Grgich Hills Chardonnay, $42.
  • There’s a Girl In My Soup: 2021 Gilles Blanchet Single Vineyard Pouilly-Fume, $21.
  • For Your Eyes Only: 2021 Gentilini Robola Rhombus of Cephalonia, $19.
  • The Silence of the Lambs: 2017 Castellani Chianti Classico Riserva, $15.
  • Diamonds Are Forever: 2020 Coppola Diamond Collection Claret, $22.
  • Sideways: 2021 Silver Coast Merlot. $18.
  • Casablanca: NV Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut Champagne, $65.

The Venice (FL) Vinos Chapter held a tasting on Sunday, March 19, at Soprano’s Wine Bar in Sarasota, Florida, hosted by member Jill Woolf. The theme was wines from France and Italy.

  • 2021 Banfi La Pettegola Vermentino; Toscana Italy, $15 (best white)
  • 2020 Pascal Bonhomme Vire-Clese; Vielles Vignnes, Burgundy, $27
  • 2018 Amiral De Beychevelle Red Blend; Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, $50
  • 2018 Chateau Fombrauge Red Blend; Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, $50
  • 2017 Conte Giangirolamo Girolamo Red Blend; Pulgia, Italy, $24
  • 2017 Barbanera Eightyith Anniversario Gigino Red Blend; Tuscany, Italy, $28 (best red and best value)

The Myrtle Beach (SC) Chapter met March 16, for “Comparing Old World vs. New World Wines,” presented by Stephen & Gloria Reustle from Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards in Roseburg, Oregon. Chapter chair and co-chair Richard and Mary Berezinsky and 48 members/guests sampled the new 2022 Reustle Prayer Rock Viognier. Then, we blind tasted 8 wines – 4 from Reustle Prayer Rock plus their 4 more-expensive European counterparts. It was difficult to tell the difference. In all 4 tastings, the Reustle Rock wine was as good as or better than the Old-World wine.

  • 2021 Reustle Prayer Rock Gruner Veltliner, $32
  • 2021 Rudi Pichler Kollmutz Smaragd Gruner Veltliner (Austria), $70


  • 2020 Reustle Prayer Rock Pinot Noir Reserve, $45
  • 2020 Domaine Camus Bruchon Savigny-les Beaune Les Lavieres Premier cru (Burgundy), $49


  • 2021 Reustle Prayer Rock Syrah Reserve, $45
  • 2020 Chateau de Saint Cosme Saint-Joseph (Northern Rhone), $47


  • 2019 Reustle Prayer Rock Tempranillo Reserve, $45
  • 2019 Bodegas Mauro (Spain), $60

The North Carolina Triangle Chapter met on March 19 at the home of members Al and June Decker. Al’s presentation was on “Taste of the Town.” Al and June went to several local wine merchants and asked the manager to choose the one wine that he or she would like to best represent what the shop has to offer. The wines presented are as follows. It was an interesting way to see how the local wine merchants prefer to be represented. The wines were:

  • 2021 Curran Grenache Blanc California, $20
  • 2021 Lagler Grüner Veltliner Austria, $35 (3)
  • 2016 Coste Rouge Negrette France, $25
  • 2019 Luca Malbec Argentina, $34 (2-tie)
  • 2020 Kanonkop Pinotage South Africa, $49 (2-tie)
  • 2016 Three Wine Company CMZ California, $49 (1)

Twenty-five members of the Southern Finger Lakes (Elmira/Corning) (NY) Chapter met for “a petite trip to France” on March 18.

The group was introduced to 3 types of French brandy — Cognac, Armagnac, and Calvados — by speaker Lu Kohena at an event at the home of Lori Baccile. Lu explained the process of making brandies in France, using fruits (primarily grapes, apples, and pears) grown in specific regions. Each type has a specific distilling and aging process as well.

Maps of the various brandy-making regions in France and the age and quality indicators for brandy were included in the presentation.

The brandies were:

  • 20-year Cognac Grande Champagne Vielle Reserve, Maison Dudognon, $80.
  • 15-year Armagnac Hors D’Age, Chateau de Briat, $68.
  • Calvados du Pays d’Auge Reserve, Domainede Montreuil, $41.
  • Calvados Domfrontais Reserve, Domaine Didier Lemorton, $50.

The Emerald Coast (FL) Chapter met on March 19 at the home of Pam Davey for the National Tasting Project. We welcomed 2 new members. Pam Davey and Jayne Jackson were our speakers. There is muchEmerald Coast (FL) Chapter to be learned on the region so we will not share it all here. Of note the main white grapes of the region are the Burboulenc, Roussanne, and Clairette. The main red grapes are Mourvedre, Syrah and Counoise. The climate is considered Mediterranean, and the soil can fit any number of classification as it is so diverse.

  • 2021 E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone White, $15.
  • 2020 Chateau La Nerthe Les Cassagnes Cotes du Thone Villages, $19.
  • 2020 Dom. D’Andezon Cotes du Rhone Red, $14.
  • 2019 Chateau Fortia Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Du Baron, $44 (1).
  • 2019 Pierre Amadieu Gigondas Romane Machotte, $34 (tied for 2).
  • 2018 Chateau De Trignon Rasteau, $24 (tied for 2).

Everyone walked away from the tasting have learned something new about Southern Rhone and the great wines of the region.

50 Shades of GrapesThe 50 Shades of Grapes (NJ) Chapter held its March tasting at Tomasello Winery, hosted by Charlie Tomasello and featuring “Flights and Bites.” The group was given the task of blind tasting the Palmaris reds, and to determine the vintage and which were made from Napa grapes, along with the dominant varieties.

To everyone’s surprise, the Outer Coastal New Jersey Palmaris wines showed exceptionally well, and stood up to the big Napa reds! Menu items and paired wines were:

Chilled Lobster Salad

  • NV Tomasello Sparking Brut Rose’
  • 2021 Tomasello Outer Coastal Plain Painting Chardonnay

Braised Short Rib over Spinach

  • 2019 Palmaris Outer Coastal Plain Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2017 Palmaris Outer Coastal Plain Petit Verdot
  • 2020 Palmaris Napa Palmaris Red

Crème Brulé

  • 2020 Tomasello Atlantic County Epilogue Riesling Ice Wine
  • 2021 Tomasello Atlantic County Vidal Blanc Ice Wine

Butter Cookies a la Mode

  • Tomasello A La Mode Butter Pecan Cream
  • Tomasello A la Mode Chocolate Almond Cream

G’day, Mate!! In March, Lehigh Valley (PA) Chapter members and guests traveled to the Down Under wine region. “Good on ya!, Shannon & Dave Tompkins!!” Australia has the oldest continental crust on Earth, which houses the world’s oldest fossils. These densely rich soils contribute to Australia’s reputation as one of the world’s prominent wine producers.

With 60+ designated wine regions, Australia has established itself as a producer of lively, intense, innovative ,and diverse wines. We explored and scored 4 whites and 5 reds from eight of Australia’s wine regions.Lehigh Valley (PA) Chapter And then we enjoyed a Vivo Italian Kitchen buffet meal.

The top three red wines were:

  • 2018 Nugan Estate Scruffy’s Shiraz, $21
  • 2018 Powel & Son GSM, $30
  • 2018 Moorooduc Estate Pinot Noir, $41.

The top two scoring white wines were:

  • 2021 Tyrells Hunter Valley Semillon, $26
  • 2022 Robert Oatley Chardonnay, $18.

On March 26, the North Wake (NC) Chapter held a meeting and tasting at Heritage View Clubhouse in Wake Forest with 39 members and guests attending. Co-chair Greg Hedrick opened the meeting with an informative handout on common wine faults, such as brett and oxidation.

North Wake (NC) ChapterOfficers Sally Albrecht and Jay Althouse then presented “Battle of the Valleys: Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley.” We tasted 7 wines from these three AVAs, all located in Sonoma County. Jay provided background information on the terroir of Sonoma County, and specifically in the geographic Russian River Valley, within which all three AVAs are located. Because of the variety of soils, altitudes, and climates, many grape varietals are grown in Sonoma, and the county is not known for any one grape. It has been reported that there are more soil types in Sonoma than in all of France.

Sally presented information on the wineries and the wines we tasted. All were single varietals except for the final wine, which was a blend from Ridge composed of grapes from all three of the AVAs.

  • 2019 Alexander Valley Chardonnay, $17 (5)
  • 2020 Raeburn Russian River Chardonnay, $19 (6)
  • 2021 Hartford Court Russian River Pinot Noir, $34 (7)
  • 2020 Frei Brothers Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $25 (1-tie)
  • 2019 Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, $26 (2)
  • 2019 Pedroncelli Bushnell Vineyard Dry Creek Zinfandel, $24 (1-tie)
  • 2019 Ridge Three Valleys Blend, $24 (3)

All prices are local. Some wines were on sale.

Many thanks to Michelle Landis for her excellent first AWS tasting with the Northampton (PA) Chapter. It was a great topic and very well planned and presented. It was particularly helpful to have Duncan Marks join us via Zoom for a first-hand discussion about De Negoce and their strategy for direct-to-consumer wine distribution.

This tasting was attended by 21 chapter members. In addition to a Rosé ice breaker the lineup was 2 whites and 8 reds. All wines had average scores in the 15-to-17-point range — excellent per AWS scoring standards.

Also, Michelle served a very tasty dinner following the wine tasting, much appreciated by all!!

  • 2021 San Felo “Le Stoppie” Vermentino, $13
  • 2020 Les Maselles Sauvignon Blanc, $11
  • 2019 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, $22
  • 2018 Walla Walla Meritage, $29
  • 2016 Xavier Vignon Arcane “L’Etoile,” $27
  • 2016 Xavier Vignon “Cuvee Anonyme,” $49
  • 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $29
  • 2018 Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon, $29 (2)
  • 2010 Vite Colte Essenze Barolo, $39 (3)
  • 2021 Barossa Valley Shiraz, $29 (1)

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Jack Kraft, Editor
Chapter Events Editor
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Diane Meyer, Conference Planner Diane@AmericanWineSociety