Mark your calendar for registration from June 20–24.
From a membership survey to developing a more systematic approach for wine-judging protocols, read what the committee has been working on.
Plus, a local chapter holds a spirited fundraiser.
The Amateur Wine Competition is now open for registration.
Kevin Kourofsky says you should shake up your usual habits and ask “why not” when making wine.
As an active member of the American Wine Society, he chaired the Cleveland (OH) Chapter and later co-founded and chaired the Emerald Coast (FL) Chapter.
Your fellow AWS members held some exciting tastings in recent months.
Registration for the National Conference begins this month
Conference planning is moving forward quickly, and we are creating another amazing program for you!
I’m thrilled that so many people already are talking about attending. To ease the burden on our registration system and to allow members to make earlier travel plans, we again offer earlier conference registration. First, this month, you will register for the conference and then, in August, you will sign up for individual sessions.
Please read the following information carefully. If you have any questions, you are welcome to send an email to me at Diane@AmericanWineSociety or call the National Office during business hours.
Monday, June 20 (9:30 a.m., Eastern time/6:30 a.m. Pacific time) to Friday, June 24 (9 a.m., Eastern time/6 a.m. Pacific time)
Registration opens for all AWS members. Members should have received an email at the email address they have registered with AWS. To register for the conference, use the link in the email or on the National Conference page on the AWS website.
Important: Every member who would like to attend the 2022 National Conference must register and pay the registration fee ($530/person) during this week.
After Friday, June 24
If the conference is not sold out, everyone who registered will be guaranteed a seat. Please feel free to make your travel plans. Any remaining seats will be available on the AWS website until the event sells out.
If the conference has sold out during the June registration period, you will be notified on June 27. Then, a computer program will select registrants based on the maximum number we can accommodate. Couples will be selected together. These randomly selected registrants are guaranteed a seat. Those not selected will receive a refund and will be placed on a waiting list.
Members will receive the digital conference brochure detailing speakers and sessions.
Everyone who is registered and paid in full will select sessions. You can register for sessions online through the link provided. Or, for a $20 service charge, you can send your session choices to the National Office for manual entry.
This is not first-come, first-served, so you have the full four days to make your choices. Once the window closes to select sessions, we will randomly assign sessions using a program specifically designed to give everyone the same number of first, second, and third choices. We used this session selection procedure successfully for many years, so it should be familiar to past attendees.
If you fail to select sessions by the close of the allotted time frame, you can still choose your sessions at a later date from those with available seats. If you have questions or difficulty, please contact the National Office.
Following the close of the session-selection process, attendees will be notified of their session assignments.
If you are dissatisfied with your session assignments and wish to cancel your conference registration, please notify the National Office by August 31. We will refund your registration fee, and you may cancel your hotel reservation at no charge.
Education Committee lays out robust offerings for AWS members
Some great things are happening with your all-volunteer Education Committee!
Committee members Kevin Ostrowski, JoAnn DeGaglia, Sharyn Kervyn, John Sporing, and Nancy Stabins are working diligently to create and update educational opportunities for AWS members.
We have created a charter and a code of conduct for all committee members and instructors. We are also developing a survey for all AWS members seeking input regarding what educational opportunities and resources you would like to see. In addition, we are coordinating with the Strategic Planning Committee and Cru 100 to keep education central to our organization!
In addition to highlights of our activities detailed below, we have a sub-committee working on evaluating a new systematic approach, framework, and vocabulary for our judging protocol to achieve more consistency among our judges.
Wine Judge Certification Program (WJCP)
We’ve been hard at work on this affordable, 3-year, largely self-study program, which is designed for individuals who already have basic wine knowledge and may wish to judge competitions.
The program also includes support in the form of monthly Zoom calls for students to practice judging wines (they’ve been under way since February, so don’t delay if you’re considering signing up for the course). Students also must attend an in-person session each year, usually on the Thursday before the AWS National Conference festivities begin.
We have reconfigured the WJCP organizational structure and contact information as follows:
- JoAnn DeGaglia: WJCP Year One coordinator WJCPYear1Coordinator@AmericanWineSociety.net.
- Carole Hackett: WJCP Year Two coordinator WJCPYear2Coordinator@AmericanWineSociety.net.
- Walt Rachele: WJCP Year Three coordinator WJCPYear3Coordinator@AmericanWineSociety.net.
This is the new name for the Super Tasting Program (in 2016, it was called Intro to Wine), and we’ve updated the content and structure.
- WineSmarts I is a course that is tasting-focused, designed for individuals who wish to better understand how wine is made, learn principal regions and what they produce, and learn more about pairing food and wine. The goal is to become a better taster, to learn your palate preferences, and enhance your ability to analyze wines through blind tastings in a fun and interactive setting.
- WineSmarts II. This course, created by our coordinator (Sharyn), will premiere at the upcoming conference in Bellevue, Washington. It’s open to all who passed WineSmarts I (formerly Super Tasting I). It will dive deeper into various winemaking processes, as well as exploring an overview of how climate and terroir affect growing regions and resulting wines. Acquire a more in-depth ability to evaluate the 19 wines covered in this course through blind tastings and fun, interactive learning challenges.
- WineSmarts III. Be on the lookout for this course, which is currently in development.
The WineSmarts program is held on the Thursday before the AWS Conference festivities begin. For more information regarding these courses and registration, see the AWS website or contact Sharyn Kervyn.
Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Levels 2 and 3
AWS is an approved program provider for WSET, the pre-eminent wine educational organization. Take advantage of this wine education experience with robust study and tasting at home, and then testing at the annual AWS conference.
WSET Level 1 credentials are not required to enroll in Level 2. Generally, someone with solid wine experience can successfully complete Level 2; however, passing Level 2 is recommended for those attempting Level 3. This program is a great way for ambitious consumers or those in the trade to deepen their appreciation of wine, as well as being a valuable qualification for anyone in the industry.
These courses are available only to AWS members, but non-members can join AWS as part of their course registration. For more information and registration, reach out to Aaron Mandel, who is the AWS coordinator for WSET.
AWS educational opportunities
The committee is in the process of developing and approving educational opportunities for our chapters, along with possible mid-year WJCP classes and testing. If you have any ideas or courses you would like to see developed, please send suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in teaching?
We now have an application for members who want to be considered as potential instructors. We are creating new programs and it is always advantageous to maintain a pool of backup instructors. Please contact me if you would like to fill out an application.
Instructor candidates may be assigned volunteer spots in the educational courses to assist and have the opportunity to experience the class first-hand. I look forward to hearing from you! Again, you can reach me at email@example.com
AWSEF gears up for 2022 scholarship awards
The AWSEF’s Board of Trustees has reviewed the qualified scholarship applications received for the 2022 award period and met in late May to determine which of these master’s and Ph.D. students will be offered a scholarship. This year’s applicants represent ten different universities across the United States and Canada, with more than one applicant from several universities. Look for announcement of the winners in the next issue of AWS News.
How are these scholarships funded?
Banfi Vintners Foundation has very generously funded a scholarship annually since 2001. Most of our scholarships each year are funded by donations through AWS Chapters, or groups of Chapters in a region.
There are numerous ways chapters raise money to donate towards a scholarship. Some are as simple as adding a $2 charge to the per-person cost of any tasting; others hold raffles at tastings with bottles donated by members; and some simply ask members to make cash donations. This month, I’m pleased to share with you how the St. Louis (MO) Chapter raised funds towards a scholarship.
I’m sure this was a tasting everyone will remember. I would love to hear from any other chapters doing fundraising on behalf of the AWSEF, and I am especially interested in the different ways you collect donations. Pictures of any events are always welcome!
The remainder of our funding comes from our annual online wine bottle raffle, started in 2020, and our annual Silent Auction, held at the AWS National Conference. These funds go to our endowment fund, which is invested to provide income to fund future scholarships while still growing the endowment fund.
Any donations made to the AWS Educational Foundation may be identified to be held in an account until there are sufficient funds to provide a scholarship (currently $3,500) or may be requested to be added to the endowment fund — both of which are equally important for the AWSEF to continue its mission!
Best wishes for a delightful, wine-filled summer.
Amateur winemakers, get ready for the fall
If you’re not interested in online registration, just contact me and I can send a paper registration for you to fill out. Since I had only a few mail-ins last year, it didn’t make sense to continue to include it in the brochure.
Also, you can download a one-page flyer from the AWS website and leave it at your local winemaking supply shop.
Winemakers, you are the reason this organization was started. We need you to show us what you’ve got. Decide which wines you want to submit for the competition. If you want to try something new and get professional feedback, this is the place to do it. Also consider volunteering to conduct a presentation at the conference on winemaking; coax the next generation of amateur winemakers.
We’ve looked at what we did last year to see what we liked about our modified format that could be incorporated into this year’s competition. We’ve reviewed the brochure to make sure the rules and procedures are clear; if I still missed the mark, give me a shout.
Our use of Coravin® Wine Preservation System the last two years made it easier for the staff to handle the wines over multiple tastings, but also saved you on the number of bottles you had to send in… we’re glad to have Coravin® with us again this year!
Now, let’s get ready for Bellevue!
Chair, Amateur Wine Competition
Don’t be hidebound: Embrace the possible
By Kevin Kourofsky
Oz Clark is a name most Americans would not recognize, despite its intriguing sound. He’s an English singer, actor and most of all a well-respected wine writer and early advocate for “New World” wines.
He didn’t come from a wine-drinking family; indeed, his family didn’t drink at all. He wrote in a recent Decanter Magazine article that he decided to become a wine expert because he thought he would become irresistible to women.
That didn’t work out so well, but his opinions on wine, and especially New World wine, became irresistible to wine drinkers.
Obituary: William (Bill) Francis Davey
William (Bill) Francis Davey, 78, of Gulf Breeze, Florida, passed away peacefully on May 15, 2022, surrounded by loved ones, after recently suffering a stroke.
Bill was born on June 15, 1943, to parents Frederick Glenn Davey and Wanda Delores Davey in Detroit, Michigan. Bill moved to Rogers City, Michigan, at age 6 and spent his childhood summers in Mullett Lake, Michigan.
Bill graduated from Cheboygan High School, earned an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at UCLA and a master’s degree at the University of Michigan that fueled his love of the UM vs. OSU rivalry.
Bill worked as an automotive engineer at Ford and GM in Detroit for over 10 years. Bill was passionate about the industry and was a car enthusiast who loved automotive engineering and design. He then moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he was an eclectic entrepreneur creating successful businesses in water treatment, industrial chemistry, computers, and industrial machinery for more than 30 years.
Bill was a natural community builder. As an active member of the American Wine Society, he chaired the Cleveland (OH) Chapter and later co-founded and chaired the Emerald Coast (FL) Chapter. He was a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and the Elks of Pensacola Beach, Florida. His home was a common gathering site, and he was known to neighbors as the glue that holds the community together.
Bill retired in 2017 to a lovely beach home on the East Bay in Gulf Breeze, Florida that he called paradise. His hobbies were many and varied including DIY projects, winemaking, captaining his boat “Definitely,” and travel.
Bill was predeceased by his parents and siblings (Betty Flick, Louis Davey, Frederick Davey, John Davey, Thomas Davey). He is survived by his beloved wife of 23 years, Pamela, and their standard poodles, Syrah and Tina. Bill also is survived by his 4 children: Matthew Davey (Teresa), Kirsten Aloisantoni (John), Christa Laubach (Steve), Dennis Lackmeyer (Heather); his 5 grandchildren: Stacey, Jackie (Jonathon), Angela (Nate), Sabrina, Zoe, and Noah; and his 3 great grandchildren: Trae, Jayla, Anjay. Bill also leaves behind a close-knit neighborhood family.
A memorial service is being planned this month. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Wine Society Educational Foundation.
Faith Chapel Funeral Home North, 1000 South Highway 29, Cantonment, is entrusted with arrangements. You may express condolences online at www.fcfhs.com.
The Derby Somms (KY) Chapter held an event hosted by Davie and Alicia Scheu. The theme was “it’s not Bordeaux”. Five wines were poured blind and given to the members for tasting.
- 2016 Koehler Santa Ynes Valley Mourvèdre, Los Olivos, California, $44 (1)
- 2019 Cottanera Etna Barbazzale, Sicily, Italy, $18 (2)
- 2019 Carmen Gran Reserva Carmenere, Colchagua, Chile, $18 (3)
- 2014 Tablas Creek Vineyard Tannat, Paso Robles, California, $50
- 2017 21 Gables Pinotage, Stellenbosch, South Africa, $22
The Fleur de Lis Chapter of Louisville (KY) held its March 2022 tasting hosted by Jim and Charlie Leason. The theme was Red Blends. Six wines were poured blind and given to the members for tasting.
- 2018 Molly Dooker Two Left Feet with 71% Syrah, 15% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon; McLaren Vale, Australia, $39 (1)
- 2018 Alec’s Blend with 57% Syrah, 28% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon,1% Cabernet Franc; Napa, California, $75 (2)
- 2019 Jip Jip Rocks Syrah with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, Padthaway, Australia, $20 (2)
- 2017 Tablas Creek with 48% Syrah, 32% Grenache, 16% Mourvèdre, 4% Counoise; Paso Robles, CA, $19 (3)
- 2016 Mr Burgess Syrah with 11% Mourvèdre, El Dorado-Santa Rosa, California, $35
- 2020 Stolpman Crunchy Roastie Syrah with 5% Viogner, Lompoc, California, $25
The members of the Hammonton (NJ) Chapter gathered at the home of Patti and Pete Bronecke for an Eastern European wine tasting with wines from Hungary, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Members learned an interesting fact: Two of the wines from Moldova and Ukraine, were Kagor wines. Kagor is a fortified dessert wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Saperavi, and other grapes on the Black Sea primarily in Moldova and Crimea. To accompany the wines, Patti and Pete cooked a delicious meal that consisted of Ukrainian and Polish foods.
Pete’s family originated in Ukraine and generously decided to donate the group’s collected money to the United Ukrainian American Relief Committee (UUARC).
Top three wines:
- Royal Tokaji 2017 (Hungary), $20 (1)
- Pannohalmi Tricollis (Hungary), $10 (2)
- Popova Kula Vranec 2017 (Macedonia), $46 (3)
The Myrtle Beach (SC) Chapter met April 21, 2022, for a sampling of Tuscany’s Superstars, presented by Sharron McCarthy, AWS Award of Merit honoree and former vice president of wine education at Banfi Vintners. Chair and co-chair Richard & Mary Berezinsky hosted, as 43 members and guests tasted the best wines from Castello Banfi, a state-of-the-art, award-winning winery set on vineyards that date back to the 13th-century Etruscans.
- La Pettegola Vermentino, $16
- San Angelo Pinot Grigio, $17
- Fontanelle Chardonnay, $26
- Chianti Classico DOCG, $16
- Centine Rosso IGT, $12
- Belnero, $26
- Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG, $70 (2)
The Northampton (PA) Chapter held a vertical tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon hosted by the Koempels.
The first 5 wines, from 2009 to 2013, were from the Weese winery in Sonoma California. The next 3 were 2015 Dry Creek Winery (Sonoma), 2016 Michel-Schlumberger (Napa) and 2017 Slices (Mendocino). There was a lively discussion of the wines afterwards and, as usual, a good time was had by all.
- 2009 Weese Sonoma 1987, $15.85
- 2010 Weese Sonoma ‘87, $15.25
- 2011 Weese Sonoma ‘88, $14.55
- 2012 Weese Sonoma ‘93, $16.18 (2)
- 2013 Weese Sonoma ‘94, $16.18 (2)
- 2015 Dry Creek Sonoma ‘93, $15.93
- 2016 Schlumberger Napa ‘95, $16.30 (1)
- 2017 Mendocino ‘90 Slices, $15.45
The North Wake (NC) Chapter held a pizza outing at Lynch Creek Farm in Kittrell, North Carolina. Members brought their own wines to drink with pizzas hand-made by Bob Ratcliffe of Lynch Creek.
Co-chair Jay Davis announced that chapter membership had reached 60. Jay Althouse presented a tasting of three red wines. Members were asked to list the wines in order of price, from lowest to highest. Several members answered correctly, and a winner was chosen after two tie breakers: guess the grape and guess the country of origin.
The wines for the tasting were:
- 2017 Fuerza, Jumilla region, Spain (75% Monastrell, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon), $11
- 2017 d’Arenberg “The Lovegrass” Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia, $20
- 2018 Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, California, $25
The North Wake (NC) Chapter held its monthly meeting on May 22, 2022. The theme of the event was Wines of South Africa and was led by Mitchell Bowling from Queen of Wines distributor. Mitchell is the representative for Rickety Bridge wines and led the presentation, which included an overview of South Africa wine production, the terroir, and the wines of Rickety Bridge.
Mitchell informed us that Rickety Bridge exports wine only to North Carolina in the United Sates—good for us! Twenty-three members tasted 8 wines made from 7 different varietals, including a Pinotage, South Africa’s signature varietal.
Pinotage was cultivated in South Africa in 1925 and is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. The overall top scoring wine was the 2017 “The Bridge” Cabernet Sauvignon, scoring a whopping 18.1 average on the AWS wine evaluation 20-point scale and putting it in the extraordinary category.
The wines we tasted and their rank from the scoring are:
- 2017 Rickety Bridge “The Bridge” Cabernet Sauvignon, $66 (1)
- 2017 Rickety Bridge Shiraz, $20 (2)
- 2019 Rickety Bridge Pinotage, $20 (3)
- 2019 Rickety Bridge “Paulina’s Reserve” Sauvignon Blanc, $18 (4)
- 2019 Rickety Bridge Chenin Blanc, $15 (5)
- NV Rickety Bridge Brut Rose (Pinot Noir/Chardonnay), $24 (6)
Seventy members of the Ocean Isle Beach (NC) Chapter warmly welcomed presenter Letizia Ciappi. In an event held at Silver Coast Winery, Ms. Ciappi led the group for the Tenuta Torciano Wine School — an educational evening of fine Italian wines.
Ms. Ciappi, niece of the Tenuta Torciano Winery winemaker, shared a brief overview of the family-owned and -operated winery. With 13 generations of winemakers from Tuscany, the family is celebrating its 301st year of winemaking in the Chianti Region.
Eight wines were presented for the group to sip and evaluate, starting with their two lightest wines:
- Vernaccia S. Gimignano, the first wine in 1996 to receive the DOCG designation.
- Chianti, a blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% of the winemaker’s discretion.
- Petite Verdot Toscana was poured third, followed by a trio of Super Tuscans.
- Baldassaree – a blend of one-third each Merlot, Cabernet and Sangiovese.
- Cavaliere – 70% Sangiovese and 30% Merlot, aged three years.
- Bartolomeo, a lighter Super Tuscan 50/50 blend of Cabernet and Sangiovese. The bottle label featured a painting by Letizia’s grandfather.
- Brunello Di Montalcino – at 15% APV this is a recommended winter drinking wine. Barrel aged for four years, this 2015 vintage is the youngest available.
- Terrestre blend of Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet.
In addition to the outstanding wines served tastings of Tenuta Torciano extra virgin olive oil and pepper-flavored extra virgin olive oil were offered with bread.
Members of the Shallotte (NC) Chapter tasted 7 sparkling wines from various countries (France, Italy, Spain, USA, South Africa). The sparklers tasted were traditional Champagne, Cremant, Moscato, Prosecco and Cava.
The group learned some history of sparkling wines:
- The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that the bubbles in sparkling wines represented good and evil spirits and phases of the moon.
- English glass production using coal-fired furnaces produced a stronger glass bottle than the wood-fired French glass, which made explosion of the champagne bottles less frequent.
- In the 1700’s, Dom Perignon, a Benedictine monk, created the Champagne Method. As time moved on, yeast was introduced by Louis Pasteur, and in the early 1900’s Eugene Charmat developed the second fermentation in closed tanks.
Wines tasted were:
- 2018 Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc, $33.99 (1)
- NV Henri Dosnon Brut Champagne, $39.99 (2)
- NV Graham Beck Brut, $18.99 (3)
- 2016 Gramona Gran Cuvee, $21.99
- 2020 Alasia Moscato d’Asti, $12.99
- NV Domaine Bruno Dangin Cremant de Bourgogne, $28.99
- NV Sorgente Proseco Brut, $15.99
The Triangle (NC) Chapter met on March 20, 2022, at the Falls Village Wine and Beer in Raleigh, North Carolina, for a tasting of “Brothers from a Different Mother”. Our presenter was the store’s owner, Jim Soffe, and our hosts were AWS members Sue Ohmann and Bob Hingos.
From our welcome wine of Broadbent Vinho Verde to our closing wine of 2019 Slingshot North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon, Jim walked us through a blind tasting of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The members and guests in attendance enjoyed light snacks while tasting some fabulous wines.
The stunning array of wines Jim presented for this tasting event was:
- NV Broadbent Vinho Verde, Portugal, $8
- 2020 Sombras De Sol Reserva, Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Rosa, CA, $16
- 2020 Vina Robles Sauvignon Blanc, Chile, $13
- 2020 Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, CA, $20
- 2018 Calathus Chardonnay, Mendoza, $22
- 2019 Head High Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, CA, $27
- 2017 Yamhill Valley, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR, $22 (3)
- 2018 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon WA, $16 (1)
- 2019 Slingshot Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast, CA, $20 (2)
To have your event included in the AWS News, e-mail your tasting results to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please 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.
–Adrienne Turner, Chapter Events editor
|AWS News Staff||We welcome your comments and suggestions.|
|Jack Kraft, Editor||AmericanWineSocietyNews@gmail.com|
|David Falchek, Publisher||ExecutiveDirector@AmericanWineSociety.org|