AWS News – June 2024

Jun 21, 2024



The time is coming to select AWS national officers

Watch this summer for an email asking you to help select national officers of the American Wine Society — then do your civic duty.

North Carolina, we’re headed your way soon!

You’ll receive a digital brochure via email this month for this year’s National Conference, and registration will open in late July. This year, registration and session selection are concurrent on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tick-tock, tick-tock. Grab your travel discount now!

You have only until June 30 to snag a discount for the 2025 AWS Seine River wine cruise in France.

From the desk of the Executive Director

Arranging for the this and future years’ National Conference, moving the National Office, database implementation, and social media posts make the time fly by.

AWSEF announces scholarship recipients for 2024

With this year’s awards, the AWSEF has provided more than $530,000 in scholarships to 177 students at 25 different universities across the United States and Canada since 1995.

Get to know the people who serve you

A new series debuts, designed to provide a better sense of who AWS leaders are, their backgrounds, and their personal approach to serving. In this issue: Director of Education Annemarie Morse.

Winemaker’s corner: Grape-shifting (one wine, two styles)

How you make wine is just as important as the quality of the grapes. Kevin Kourofsky recounts how some grapes tolerate various cellar techniques better than others.

Chapter events

From coast to coast across America, members have been uncorking bottles, removing screw tops, and filling their glasses. See what they’ve been up to.

The time is coming to select AWS national officers

Later this summer, watch for an email asking you to help select national officers of the American Wine Society. This year, you will elect members to serve in the following positions, with terms beginning on January 1, 2025:

The nomination period for these offices closed in May, and the Governance Committee now is formulating the ballot based on available nominees.

When you receive the chance to vote, please do so. Over the 50-plus years of our existence, AWS has benefitted from the many members who have come forward to selflessly contribute their time and talents in the management and advancement of our organization.

Your participation in the election is a great way to help enhance the membership experience and provide for the organization’s current and future growth and existence.

We do this each year, 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.

North Carolina, we’re headed your way soon!

2024 National Conference logoWe are creating another amazing program for you at our National Conference, scheduled this year for Friday, November 1 to Sunday, November 3, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

I am thrilled that so many people already are talking about attending.

Watch for your conference registration email

Conference registration will open in mid- to late July. In early July, members will receive the digital conference brochure, via email, detailing speakers and sessions.

Unlike the last few years, registration and session selection will occur concurrently this year, so be sure to stay alert to upcoming AWS emails notifying you of open registration!!! It will be first-come, first-served.

This year’s conference registration is $675, a tremendous value considering what it would cost to visit all of the wineries attending and tasting all of the wines — not to mention the educational component of the conference and the meals.

Note: Every AWS member has an individual American Wine Society website Username and Password and must use it to register. If you don’t know your login information, please contact Member Service Manager Colleen Reardon, 570-344-3640, or email her at

Book your room now

Rooms still remain at the Marriot Winston Salem on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights of conference week, beginning at our special rate of $149 per night (plus tax and fees), so be sure to reserve yours as soon as possible because inventory is limited.

Book your room at the Winston-Salem Marriott

Make pre-conference tour plans

For those arriving early, we have a few tours available. Each is limited to 25 people.

On Thursday, October 31, a shuttle will take attendees to tour 3 Yadkin Valley wineries — Rayson, Haze Gray, and Dobbins Creek— from 9.a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern time.

On Friday, November 1, you have a choice of 2 tours, each from  9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern time.

  • A shuttle will take attendees to 3 Yadkin Valley wineries — JoLo, Piccione, and Raffaldini (our premiere sponsor) — with lunch delivered at Piccione.
  • A shuttle will take attendees to 3 Yadkin Valley wineries — Raffaldini, Jones Von Drehle, JoLo — with lunch delivered at Jones Von Drehle.
    Diane Meyer

    Diane Meyer, Conference Chair

The tours are one example of North Carolina wineries stepping up to the plate! In total, we have 35 wineries participating from all over the state.

Still, we are seeking a sponsor for our Sunday lunch, which will feature 600 high-end wine consumers from across the United States gathered in one room….what an amazing marketing opportunity for the right winery or wine region.

If you are a member and have questions, or a winery that wishes to become a sponsor, send an e-mail to me or call the National Office during business hours.

Sponsor logos


Tick-tock, tick-tock. Grab your travel discount now!

You still have time — but only until June 30 — to snag a discount for the 2025 AWS Seine River wine cruise in France.

This means you can save 5% off the price of a balcony stateroom if you book now. Wine Cruise to France

The 7-night cruise from May 8–15, 2025, features renowned wine expert, author, and storyteller Paul Wagner. And, of course, you’ll experience some of the best wine available while enjoying the company of your fellow AWS members.

A fabulous itinerary

You’ll visit Paris, Les Andelys, Le Havre, Caudebec-en-Caux, Rouen, and Vernon. You’ll travel aboard the finely appointed AmaLyra cruise ship and have access to three seminars featuring wines from the Champagne, Alsace and Loire Valley regions. Plus, take part in three wine-and-food-pairing dinners led by Paul Wagner, featuring wines from those regions.

How to get started

Staterooms start at $4,599 per person, and you should book as early as possible to be assured of the best selection. For more information, click on the nearby image. To get started on this extraordinary trip, call 877-651-7447 or email

Birthday fruit salad: fermented grapes

From the desk of the Executive Director


The last 2 months have flown by! From working on this year’s National Conference, to finalizing arrangements for next year, to scouting locations for 2026, conferences have been a high priority.

Natalie Dippenaar, AWS Executive Director

Natalie Dippenaar, AWS Executive Director

It is so exciting to see how the pieces are falling into place for November — speakers and sessions, tours, a photographer, and a DJ.

Because of members’ demand, hotel space has been a challenge. We’ve increased the available room block several times, and each time we fill up and sell out.

We look all set for an early sell-out of conference, so keep an eye on your email and the website in the coming weeks. We will send out (and post on the website) the sessions and descriptions, special session pricing, and the all-important opening day of registration (TBD, but likely mid-July).

Note: As Diane highlights in her article above, this year we won’t select multiple sessions for each slot: It’s first come, first served, so be ready to register early.

I am still looking for businesses to sponsor items such as glasses or corkscrews for attendees. These items go home with members, so it’s a long-lasting reminder and a great marketing opportunity!

Other items on our plate

Member Service Manager Colleen Reardon and I are clearing out the office in Scranton. It just makes sense with me living in another state.

The database implementation for the back end of the website will be delayed into October. There’s a lot still to get done, but it works out well that members aren’t becoming familiar with a new system and registering for National Conference at the same time.

I’ve taken over social media, so stop by occasionally to Instagram or Facebook and ‘like’ some posts. There is a Wine Word of the Week, celebrations of National Wine Days, and updates on conference, competitions, and travel.

Some items to consider

  • If you are looking for topic for a chapter tasting, consider the Finger Lakes! CRU 100 videos and tasting presentations are available as PowerPoints and PDFs. The resources are on our website (login required).
  • If you are considering travel options for next year, you can cruise down the Seine River from Paris to Normandy, and back, from May 8‒15. For more info, see the article immediately preceding this one.
  • Thank you as always to chapters that welcome me. The NoLoCo (VA) Chapter served amazing homemade pizza paired with blind tastings of wines, and John Marshall (VA) Chapter at Pearmund Cellars featured Bordeaux wines presented by Robert Cavanaugh, who will also present a session on Rhone wines at Conference. (Yum!)

Until next time,

AWSEF announces scholarship recipients for 2024

The table below lists the winners of scholarship awards for 2024 from the AWS Educational Foundation to support full-time graduate students pursuing degrees in enology, viticulture, health, or business aspects of wine.

With this year’s awards, the AWSEF has provided more than $530,000 in scholarships to 177 students at 25 different universities across the United States and Canada since 1995.

Scholarship Amount Recipient Degree sought University
Banfi Vintners Foundation   $3,500 Michael Cook        Ph.D. Texas A&M
Virginia Wylder   $3,500 Amanda Fleming        Ph.D. Arkansas
Ocean Isle Beach, NC, Chapter   $3,500 Nikolas Wilson        Ph.D. British Columbia
W. J. Rachele Endowment   $5,000 David Campbell        Ph.D. Penn State
Lehigh Valley, PA, Chapter   $3,500 Ezekiel Warren        Ph.D. Penn State
Dayton/Springfield, OH, Chapters   $3,500 Emma Guilbault         M.S. Penn State
North Alabama, AL, Chapter   $3,500 Walter Sanders         M.S. Georgia
Northern Loudoun County Chapter in Memory of Rick Adams and in Honor of Christy Adams   $3,500 Sydney Rogers         M.S. UC Davis


Check the AWSEF website for more information about the scholarship recipients, including details about the research they are doing to further the North American wine industry.

Get to know the people who serve you

Welcome to a new series featuring AWS leaders, designed to provide a better sense of who they are, their backgrounds, and their personal approach to serving. In this issue, we feature Director of Education Annemarie Morse. Please feel free to reach out to her to learn more about educational opportunities available to you through AWS.

Annemarie Morse

Annemarie Morse, Director of Education

How long have you belonged to AWS?

More than 13 years.

How long have you been Director of Education?

2-1/2 years.

What do you find most fun about AWS?

Meeting lots of great and interesting people who also like to continuously learn about wine!

What is your background in wine? How does that benefit AWS and your current role in it?

I have a master’s degree in enology (wine making) from Cornell University. I have taught classes in wine (and wine and food) at the university and a local community college level. I am an AWS Certified Wine Judge with Merit, and I am a member of the Circle of Wine Writers.

All these things help me continuously learn and communicate to others about the merits of the AWS.

What is most rewarding about your current role?

Having the chance to make a difference and provide resources for people to learn about wine.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

The collaboration, working together with stakeholders and members to achieve a high standard of programming, knowledge, and resources. Improving communication and diversity to align our efforts towards a shared goal. This has all helped update and expand what AWS offers to our members.

What are your plans for future AWS education efforts?

To continue to update our programs to remain relevant in an ever-evolving wine world and provide resources for our members to continuously be aware of what is new and exciting about wine.

What do you see as the biggest challenge?

My biggest challenges are patience while waiting for exciting changes that are coming to our website, and how we might amplify our educational outreach for our members.

What is a fun, perhaps unknown, wine bit about yourself?

I have had some wonderful opportunities to judge wine competitions in other countries, thanks to the AWS Wine Judge Certification program.

What activities besides wine do you like to participate in?

I love cooking and travel.

What is your favorite wine or wine experience?

I don’t have one particular favorite wine;  it depends on the company, the food, the place, and the weather.

If you could have one dream wine or wine trip, what or where would it be?

There are so many wine regions I still want to explore.  So many wines, so little time, and lots of places yet to experience.

Winemaker’s corner: Grape-shifting (one grape, two styles)

Kevin Kourofsky

Kevin Kourofsky

An old aphorism concerning wine quality states that good wine is made in the vineyard. But like all aphorisms, this one doesn’t tell the whole story—because how you make the wine is just as important as the quality of the grapes.

Winemakers can sometimes use various cellar techniques to improve the vintage in a challenging year and use those same techniques to create a chosen style of wine. It’s like turning up or lowering the volume of a piece of music. The music is the same, the intensity changes.

In his latest column, Kevin Kourofsky recounts how certain grapes are more amenable to “grape shifting” than others.

Read more here

Favorite mixed drink

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.


The Fleur de Lis (KY) Chapter in March was hosted by Jim and Charlie Leason. The theme event was “Red of Course.” Six wines were poured blind and given to the members for tasting. The wines were rated, with a tie for third and fourth.

  • 2021 Blue Eyed Boy, Mollydooker, Shiraz, Maclaren Vale, Australia $70 (1)
  • 2016 Shafer Relentless, Syrah, Napa, CA $110 (2)
  • 2019 Thorn-Clark Shotfire, Shiraz, Barossa, Australia $24 (3)
  • 2020 Penfolds Bin 28, Shiraz, Barossa, Australia $29 (3)
  • 2022 Tensley, Syrah, Santa Barbara, CA $35 (4)
  • 2021 Right Hand Man, Syrah, Santa Barbara, CA $21 (4)

In March, the members of the Hammonton (NJ) Chapter gathered at Casciano Coffee Bar & Sweetery in Hammonton for its annual donation tasting.

Once a year, the chapter holds a tasting where members are encouraged to donate items to charity. This year the charities were the Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge in Medford, N.J., and the Tabernacle Methodist Church Food Bank. To go along with the charitable nature of the event, the theme of the wines was “Sip with Purpose”. Members brought wines from wineries that give back in some way to the community.

Our top 3 wines of the day were:

  • 2022 Boen Pinot Noir, $22
  • 2023 Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc, $15
  • La Cuadrilla, $25

The March tasting of the North Fulton (GA) Chapter on March 16 was led by Michael Keenan of Keenan Wines.

The wines were superb! It was great to see everyone from the many pods on the call. During the tasting, we learned a tremendous amount about Keenan wines. It was a fun and educational tasting, and we look forward to enjoying these wines in the near future with more food choices. Here are the wines from the tasting.

  • 2020 Chardonnay Spring Mountain District, $36
  • 2019 Merlot Napa Carneros, $44
  • 2020 Zinfandel Spring Mountain District, $48
  • 2020 Summer Blend, $30


The Myrtle Beach (SC) Chapter met April 18 for “What Oak Are You Tasting?” with chapter chair and co-chair Richard & Mary Berezinsky and 38 members/guests.

MaryClair Bretz educated us on the differences between the major wine aging oaks — American, French, Hungarian. We compared the tastes and aromas of Chardonnays and Cabernets aged in each type. A bonus and surprise of the night was a Cabernet aged in Bourbon barrels at a “steal” price.

  • 2022 Armani Pinot Grigio (welcome wine), $14
  • 2022 Bogle Chardonnay, white American oak, $9
  • 2022 Martin Ray Chardonnay, French oak, $12
  • 2021 Hall Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, French and Eastern European oak, $17
  • 2021 Daou Cabernet Sauvignon, new French oak, $20 (1)
  • 2022 Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon, white American oak Bourbon barrels, $9 (2)
  • 2021 J. Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon, white American oak, $14

Ocean Beach Isle tasting in AprilThe anticipation built during the pre-tasting social wine gathering of almost 60 Ocean Beach Isle (NC) Chapter members and guests. The group signups must have been based on the love of Cabernet Sauvignons. After all, who doesn’t like an enjoyable Cabernet Sauvignon that you could drink regularly and is affordable?

Our special presenter for the event was Ed Gurski, AWS regional ambassador for Coastal Carolinas. An AWS certified wine judge, Ed brought an elevated educational experience on Cabernet Sauvignon. Sharing his knowledge, experience, and research on selections noted below from the United States, Argentina, Chile, and Australia.

Each selection was explored with various pairings, including BBQ falafel, bacon-wrapped dates, cheeses, peanuts, and even Oreo cookies.

  • 2021 One Stone, Paso Robles, California, $17Ocean Beach Isle tasting in April
  • 2020 Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Washington, $17
  • 2021 Escudo Rojo Reserva, Chile, $17
  • 2021 Bodega Tapiz, Argentina, $22
  • 2020 Byron & Harold Rose & Thorns, Margaret River, $16
  • 2020 Drumheller Wines, Columbia Valley, Washington, $11

Everyone enjoyed reviewing characteristics of each wine, the specific region/appellation and potential pairings. A show of hands for who liked each choice was varied. The fourth wine was described as “easy to drink and a crowd pleaser,” the sixth a “great sipping wine.”

The presentation summary slide revealed that for the most part, all wines were under $20. Overall, a great exploration with the event objective met: affordable Cabernet Sauvignon!

The Piedmont Wine and Vine (SC) Chapter met on April 21 at the home of Mim Shelden and Lou Kinsey for a Sauvignon Blanc wine tasting. Wines were from various regions around the world: New Zealand, California, France and South Africa.

There were 24 members and guests who enjoyed this tasting along with a potluck dinner. One highlight of the food was a Greek lamb dish that went well with the wines. Not too surprisingly, most people preferred the New Zealand wines, which have dominated the Sauvignon Blanc market for the last 20-plus years.

  • 2022 White Haven, Marlborough, New Zealand, $14
  • 2021 Cakebread Cellars, Napa Valley, California, $34
  • 2022 Rabble, Central Coast, California, $15
  • 2022 Touraine, Loire Valley, France, $15
  • 2023 Spicer, South Africa, $11
  • 2023 Oyster Bay, Marlborough, New Zealand, $10

The April event for the Northampton (PA) Chapter featuring a Caymus vertical tasting was a delight, especially for Napa Cabernet lovers — and who isn’t, especially a vertical from such an iconic winery!

The vertical was the highlight of the tasting — years 2021 thru 2015! All excellent wines, each with their own subtle differences accounting for minor variation in high scores as indicated in the scores below. Many thanks to Dave and Liz Toler for sharing these extraordinary wines with the 20 chapter members who attended this tasting.

  • 2021 Caymus California Cabernet Sauvignon, $65
  • 2021 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $85
  • 2020 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $80
  • 2019 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $95
  • 2018 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $75 (3)
  • 2017 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $97
  • 2016 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $80 (1)
  • 2015 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $80 (2)

The Triangle (NC) Chapter — based in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area — held its wine tasting event on April 21. In keeping with the national theme, 7 “mystery” wines were sampled, with their identities revealed at the end of the tasting session.

Theresa Thiel, the host and presenter, did a fantastic job providing a description of each wine. The wines tasted were:

  • 2022 Mersoleil Reserve Chardonnay, Monterey County
  • 2020 Pegase Chardonnay Mitsuko’s Vineyard, Carneros
  • 2021 Stephan Ross Pinot Noir San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara
  • Patz & Hall 2019 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
  • 2021 Frank Family Vineyards Pinot Noir
  • 2021 Obsidian Wine Co. Pinot Noir ,Napa Valley, Carneros
  • 2021 Boen Pinot Noir, Sonoma County

Of the above wines, the overall point ‘winner’ was the 2021 Boen Pinot Noir Sonoma County. As per our chapter’s custom, a wonderful potluck social meal was shared after the wine education event!

The San Luis Obispo (CA) Chapter held its annual wine tour bus trip on April 20, and its destination was the Santa Maria Valley in Santa Barbara County, with stops at Ontiveros Ranch Winery, Labyrinth Winery, and Cambria Estate Winery. Twenty-three people gathered for sparkling wine and strawberries before boarding the bus on a cool, overcast morning.

Wes HagenWe had an “adventurous” drive to our first stop including two abortive attempts to detour around a closed road. We eventually arrived at Ontiveros Ranch vineyards and were met by Wes Hagen, the winery’s “gonzo” wine host. He gave us a tour of their Pinot Noir vineyards and described the rich history of the Ontiveros family in California, which dates to the Spanish/Mexican land-grants of the 1800s. The “Native 9” label derives from the 9 generations of the Ontiveros family that have owned the land where the vineyards are located.

Wes explained that the Santa Maria AVA is a cool grape-growing region that suits Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which are its flagship varieties. The AVA was established in 1981 and is California’s second oldest. Proximity to the ocean results in morning fog that takes hours to burn off, only to be replaced by chilly afternoon breezes.

Our tasting was set in a beautiful park-like setting and included specially spiced cheeses Wes had prepared to pair with the wines:

  • 2019 Rancho Vinedo Chardonnay (a crowd pleaser)
  • 2017 Native 9 Pinot Noir
  • 2016 Native 9 Pinot Noir
  • 2014 Native 9 Pinot Noir (all sourced from ranch vineyards)
  • 2020 Cañada de Los Pinos Cabernet Sauvignon (sourced from Santa Ynez)

The next stop was Labyrinth Winery in Santa Maria’s warehouse district. Included was lunch from a local deli. Our host was owner and winemaker Rick Hill, a New Zealand native, who started the winery in 2000. The wines were initially made with grapes from Santa Maria. The portfolio was expanded in 2007 to include full-bodied reds made with fruit from other areas. Our tasting included: Lunch at Labrynth

  • 2019 Chardonnay (Santa Maria)
  • 2018 Petit Verdot
  • 2020 Petit Syrah (Paso Robles),
  • 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Ynez)
  • 2018 Zinfandel (Arroyo Grande Valley).

Our final stop was Cambria Estate Winery, which is surrounded by vineyards in the foothills east of Highway 101. Cambria Estate was founded in 1986 by Barbara Banke and Jess Jackson and it includes the older Tepusquet Vineyard which was originally planted in 1971. The sun had finally come out and we enjoyed sitting on their patio. We tasted:

  • 2022 Clone 4 Chardonnay Cambria tasting
  • 2020 Katherine’s Signature Chardonnay
  • 2019 Clone 23 Pinot Noir
  • 2019 Julia’s Signature Pinot Noir
  • 2021 Clone 2A Pinot Noir.

All the fruit for these wines is sourced from their own vineyards. Many thanks to Mike Botwin and Fern Godden for organizing the trip. It was a very enjoyable day.

On April 28, the North Wake (NC) Chapter held a meeting and tasting at Heritage View Clubhouse in Wake Forest. Forty-one members and 3 guests attended a tasting of wines from Empire Distributors presented by Kyle Doss of Empire. We tasted 6 wines: two whites, two rosés, and two reds in a presentation Kyle called “Sips of Spring.” These wines were, according to Kyle, “off the beaten path” and were intended to introduce us to some spring and summer alternatives to typical white and red selections. Of the 6 wines, one was from Santa Barbara, one from Italy, and four from France.

We had an interesting discussion about wine number 6, a Cabernet Franc, which exhibited a wine fault known as Brettanomyces, often called simply Brett. Brett is a strain of yeast, generally considered a “spoilage yeast,” that imparts a barnyard aroma to wine. The yeast may get into the winery on the grapes themselves, in the winery, or hide in the barrels.

In small quantities, it may not be detectable except to people with an acute sense of smell, and it can give wine an aroma and taste of earthiness. In larger quantities it can be off-putting. Many wines, including some really terrific ones, have Brett in small concentrations. It was interesting to see the scores for this wine as some gave it very low scores because of the aroma while others gave it high scores.

  • 2022 Au Bon Climat Pino Gris, Santa Barbara, California
  • 2022 ZouZou Blanc Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Clairette, France
  • 2021 Sun Goddess Pinot Grigio, Italy
  • 2022 Domaine Eric Louis Pinot Noir Rosé, France
  • 2021 Domaine Fabien Trosset Terre D’Origine Mondeuse, France
  • 2021 Frederic Mabileau Les Racines Cabernet Franc, France

It is sometimes stated that Rioja wines are generally underappreciated in the U.S. because they often lack exposure and marketing hype. Most local restaurants don’t even have Rioja included in their wine list. A tasting like the one for the Northampton (PA) Chapter, hosted by John and Ann Koempel on April 14, helped to overcome that notion.

The wines were quite good and as usual John’s presentation provided excellent education about the wines, grapes and the Rioja region. Cheers for the wines of Rioja, and cheers for John and Ann for another great tasting!

  • 2020 Bodegas Muga Flor de Muga Blanco
  • 2022 Bodegas Muga Flor de Muga Rose
  • 2009 Siglo Gran Reserva (1)
  • 2014 Faustino Rioja Reserva V
  • 2016 Cune Gran Reserva (3)
  • 2017 Marques de Caceres Rioja Reserva
  • 2018 Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Reserva Rioja (2)
  • 2019 Bodegas Muga Reserva

The Lehigh Valley (PA) Chapter celebrated Malbec World Day for April’s tasting of “Malbec: Mendoza vs. the World” with 46 members and guests.LVAWS at April tasting

Hosts Geoff Harrington and Lisa Waelshli shared how this thick-skinned grape flourished in the dry altitudes of Mendoza, Argentina, but also in France, California, and Washington

We let our palates decide, then enjoyed delicious cuisine at Taste of Italy in Hellertown.

  • 2021 Alamos, Mendoza, $11
  • 2021 Chateau du Calliou, Cahors, $17
  • 2020 Achavel Ferrer, Mendoza, $15 (5)
  • 2016 Chateau Leret Monpezat, Cahors, $26
  • 2020 Susana Balbo Signature, Valle de Uco, $24 (4)
  • 2019 Matchbook Estate, Yolo County, California, $22
  • 2018 Terroir Expressions Hostage, Mendoza, $21, (3)
  • 2016 Nine Hats, Columbia Valley WA, $19, (2)
  • 2020 Bodega Peidra Negra, Los Chakayes $17
  • 2019 Luca Old Vine, Uco Valley Mendoza $30, (1)

New Valley Verde AZ tasting in AprilThe new Valley Valley (AZ) Chapter celebrated its inaugural meeting with 12 members in April 2024. Members came from Sedona, Prescott, Cottonwood, Clarkdale and Camp Verde.

The tasting theme was Spain, as chapter chair Joan Katherine Meyers had recently returned from a trip and was very excited to share her knowledge of the the culture and wine growing regions. Members brought appetizers to complement the wines.



The May 1 meeting of the Shallotte (NC) Chapter was held at Sorella Pizza and Pasta, where we tasted Chilean wines paired with Chilean food. Who would have thought that we would be served empanadas at an Italian restaurant?

In attendance were 24 people, which included 1 guest.

We learned that Chile is 2700 miles long and only 110 miles wide. With 90+ active volcanoes and 4% land arable, mostly in valleys at base of mountains and narrow coastal plain. Also, they never experienced Phylloxera, and as a result is home to some of world’s oldest vines.

Chile is also the 7th largest producer of wines and the 5th largest exporter. The wineries are sandwiched between the Andes to the east and the Pacific to the west. It has a Mediterranean climate with wide diurnal temperatures (warm days and cool nights), with cooling from the Humboldt current.

Because of the restaurant setting, we did not rate the wines, but all were well received:

  • 2020 Mayu Pedro Ximenez, $20
  • 2020 Sombras del Sol Sauvignon Blanc, $18
  • 2022 J. Bouchon Pais Viejo, $25
  • 2019 Sombras del Sol Carmenere, $19
  • 2023 Sombras del Sol Cabernet Sauvignon, $19

All the wines were supplied by the Sorella Pizza & Pasta and were available for Purchase. What an outstanding job the chefs and staff at Sorella Pizza and Pasta performed.

The Napa Solano (CA) Chapter wine tasting on May 4 featured reasonably priced wines from the Wine Spectator’s list of top 100 wines of last year. We are pleased to say that the fourth was with us!

The room was packed with chapter members, leading to lively discussions and varied opinions about the wines tasted.

The highest rated wine of the afternoon was the 2021 Pico Maccario Lavignone Barbera d’Asti ($18) from Piedmont, Italy. The wine rated 92 and placed number 36 on the top 100 list. Other wines were:

  • 2022 Margerum M5 Red (39% Grenache, 32% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre, 7% Cinsault, 7% Counoise), California Central Coast, $28. (2)
  • 2018 Poggerino Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy, $27 (3)
  • 2021Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Malbec, $20
  • 2022 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, $23
  • 2017 Juve & Camps Reserva de la Familia Cava Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava , San Sadurní d’Anoia, Spain, $20
  • 2021 First Drop Mother’s Milk Shiraz, Barosa, Australia, $25
  • 2022 Diatom Chardonnay, $25
  • 2022 Purple Hands Loan Oak Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, $30

Interestingly, there was no linear relationship between cost and final scoring. All wines were $ 30 or under, so they all represented a decided value given their average ratings above 92 from the Wine Spectator magazine.

The Colorado Springs (CO) Chapter held a Chenin Blanc tasting at Carter Payne in May. Julie Minor set up a flight of four Chenin Blancs and talked about each one as we tasted them. They were:Colorado Springs, CO, tasting in May

  • 2023 Sula Vineyards from Karnataka, India,
  • 2022 Marquis de Goulaine “La Loire Royale” Vouvray from Loire France,
  • 2016 L’Avenir Single Block from Stellenbosch, South Africa, and
  • 2022 Field Recordings “Chenin” from Central Coast, California.

It was interesting to taste the hint of sweetness of the Vouvray, and then the malolactic in the L’Avenir, but they were all very good. Chenin Blanc has been traced back to about the mid-800s A.D., in the Anjou region of France, and took its modern name in the 15th century from Mont-Chenin in the Touraine region east of Anjou.

Jeff Zearfoss helped put charcuterie plates, which offered a nice selection of cheeses, meats, olives, grapes, and pickled vegetables.

50 Shades of Grape, NJ, tasting in MayThe 50 Shades of Grapes (NJ) Chapter held its May event at Sharrott Winery in Hammonton, New Jersey.

After being greeted with Sharrott’s Sparkling Brut, the group then sat to a tasting of 6 wines served with Sharrott’s gourmet cheese boards. Dinner followed, with truffle mushroom flatbread served with a dry rose, then on to the entree of crab cakes or lamb chops, with scrumptious brussel sprouts and macaroni and cheese sides, served with Sharrott Unoaked Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Coeur d’Est. Dessert was Wicked (a port style wine) served with bread pudding. We also evaluated 6 other Sharrott wines earlier in the evening:50 Shades of Grape, NJ, tasting in May

  • Blanc de Blancs Brut
  • Dry Riesling
  • Reserve Estate Vignoles
  • Chambourcin
  • Trio Estate Bordeaux style blend
  • Noble Red

The Tippie Tasters (IN) Chapter met May 9 at Stonebridge Clubhouse in West Lafayette, IN. The event was hosted by Lyle Brostrom with a presentation by Lew Graham. Twenty members were present. Wines of New Zealand were featured.

Wine production in New Zealand has steadily increased the last 20 years, although exports are very small compared with Australia. The climate of New Zealand is maritime, with subtropics in the north to very cool in the south. The soil is alluvial and composed primarily of clay and loam with some irrigation necessary.

Sauvignon Blanc is the most widely produced and exported wine in New Zealand with Marlborough as the largest producing region. It is a crisp, refreshing wine of high acidity, showing up with notes of lime, leafy herbs, grapefruit, passion fruit and white peach.

Pinot Noir is produced in lesser amounts than Sauvignon Blanc. It grows best in clay-rich soils in the southern regions. Pinot Noirs are in the red fruit spectrum aromatically and bright raspberry, cherry, and plums on the palate. Typically, they have freshness from subtle acidity and some tannin.

We paired the Sauvignon Blanc with light creamy goat cheese, gouda, feta, asiago, and gruyere to bring out the bold flavors. The Pinot Noir paired with camembert, gouda, and cheddar cheeses.

  • 2022 Matua Sauvignon Blanc, $15 (1)
  • 2022 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, $20
  • 2020 Matua Pino Noir, $13 (2)
  • 2021 Kim Crawford Rose, $19

Mollydooker shakeThe Springfield (OH) AWS Chapter held a tasting of Australian Mollydooker wines on May 11, organized by John Hames. He led the 28 attendees through a tasting of 9 Mollydookers while explaining the history of this unique winery and all the quirky names they give their wines.

They learned the name “Mollydooker” was chosen since the founders were both left-handed and Mollydooker is the Aussie slang term for left-Springfield OH chapter tasting in Mayhanders. They also learned about the “fruit weight” scale Mollydooker uses to measure wine quality as well as why you need to do the “Mollydooker Shake” to their red wines to bring out the flavor. Mollydooker is “Where Wine Goes to Have Fun” and the 28 attendees has a lot of fun tasting the wines!

  • 2022 Euphoria, $25
  • 2022 Serenity, $25
  • 2021 Miss Molly, $30
  • 2021 The Boxer, $30
  • 2021 The Scooter, $30
  • 2021 The Maitre D’, $30
  • 2021 Two Left Feet, $30 (voted best wine and best value)
  • 2021 Blue Eyed Boy, $60
  • 2021 Carnival of Love, $90

The Myrtle Beach (SC) Chapter met on May 16 in advance of the D-Day 80thanniversary, with a theme of Allies vs. Axis wines, attended by chapter chair and co-chair Richard and Mary Berezinsky and 46 members /guests.

The Allied landing on Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944, started the liberation of Europe from the Nazis. In a blind tasting, wines from Allied nations were compared to counterparts from Axis nations.

We learned how the same grape, because of terroir or winemaking methods, could produce very different tasting wines. We also re-learned that one cannot rely on so-called expert critic. Many palates preferred the lower rated wine. Unlike World War II, this battle ended in a tie! The wines were:

Welcome wine

  • 2023 Le Petit Vin de France French Rose, $10

Pairing 1

  • 2022 Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Dry Riesling, Australia, $20
  • 2022 Burklin-Wolf Pfalz Riesling Trocken, Germany. $22 (winner)

Pairing 2

  • 2021 Mt. Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir, New Zealand, $22 (winner)
  • 2022 Hofstatter Meczan Alto Adige Pinot Nero, Italy, $20

Pairing 3

  • 2021 Chateau Du Caillau Cahors Malbec, France, $18
  • 2021 Mascota Vineyards La Mascota Malbec, Argentina, $16 (winner)

Pairing 4

  • 2021 Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Zinfandel, USA, $17 (winner)
  • 2021 Castello Monaci Piluna Primitivo, Italy $17

The Catawba (NC) Chapter gathered on May 17 at the home of co-chairs Ron and Margy Natalie. Chris Braun, a dedicated AWS member, delighted 34 attendees (22 members and 12 guests) with a captivating presentation of 8 “Unusual European Varietals.” The room buzzed with excitement as attendees sampled wines they might never have discovered without Chris’s expert guidance.

Questions flew as Chris detailed the origins and distinctive profiles of each wine. Members learned about the floral notes of 2022 Visionario Bianco Trevenizie (Italy) and the rich, sweet flavors of 2022 Hermes Mavrodaphne of Patras (Greece). Lively discussions arose, with only one wine receiving notably low marks.


The enthusiasm didn’t end with the tasting; many stayed to savor more wine and share their newfound insights. Guests were eager to join AWS, thrilled by the prospect of more events like this one. It was a delightful evening of learning and camaraderie!

  • 2022 Portinho do Covo Banco, Portugal, $17
  • 2021 Casa de Avila Verde, Portugal, $15
  • 2022 Visionario Bianco Trevenizie, Italy, $23
  • 2021 Saserello Bianco, Italy, $20
  • 2020 Forte Incanto Susumaniello Salento Rosso, Italy, $16
  • 2020 Greek Wine Cellars Agiorgitiko Nemea, Italy, $15 (1)
  • 2022 Gattavecchi Rosso Di Montepulciano, Italy, $17
  • NV Hermes Mavrodaphne of Patras, Greece, $15

The Hammonton (NJ) Chapter was hosted by White Horse Winery on May 19. Thanks to owner B.J. Vinton for hosting us. Assistant winemaker Edward Sparks led usHammonton NH chapter tasting in May through a vertical tasting of the winery’s estate Syrah. We tasted:

  • 2023 Syrah that has been in steel tank since finishing fermentation and has not been moved to barrel yet
  • 2022 Syrah that has been in barrel for 12 months and will be bottled this fall.
  • 2021 Syrah that has been in barrel for 24 months. This was an unreleased version that the winery was testing for extended barrel time.
  • 2021 Syrah that was released for sale earlier this year. This version spent 12 months in the barrel.

Everybody was amazed at the maturation of the wine from very fruit forward to mature and complex.

The North Fulton (GA) Chapter met on May 18 for its first-ever brunch, featuring homemade biscuits, fruit scones, bagel bites, and a variety of egg casseroles and frittatas. The afternoon began with a choice of Mimosa, Bellini, or homemade mango puree with Prosecco. It was a delicious start to the tasting.

We opened only 4 bottles for this tasting. The winning wine for the day was the Rioja!! Here are the wines:

  • Ca’ Di Rajo Prosecco D.O.C. Treviso, $13
  • 3B Blanc de Blancs , $20
  • Chateau Des Annibals Coteaux Varios en Provence Rose, $25
  • Orlegi de Luberri Rioja, $16

For its May tasting, the San Luis Obispo (CA) Chapter compared 9 Pinot Noir wines, including five SLO Coast AVA wines associated with our speaker, Mike Sinor, and his several coastal vineyards and enterprises. Here are the wines from our blind tasting:

  • 2021 Marsannay Dom. Bart, (Burgundy, France), $35 (2)
  • 2022 Scar of the Sea, Bassi Vineyard (SLO AVA, CA), $52
  • 2022 Delmore, Bassi Vineyard (SLO AVA, CA), $50
  • 2022 Entity of Delight Bassi Vineyard (SLO AVA, CA), $38
  • 2021 TED, Mount Edward (New Zealand), $30
  • 2022 Sinor~LaValle Estate (SLO AVA, CA), $38 (3)
  • 2021 Argyle (Oregon) $40 (1)
  • 2021 El Lugar, Spanish Springs (SLO AVA, CA), $60
  • 2020 Müller-Catoir Spätburgunder, Pfalz Estate (Germany),$40

Ten Golden (CO) Chapter members and one guest met for a tasting of 2020 Bordeaux rouge on the evening of May 18. We tasted almost all the major commune AOP wines from both the right and left bank regions.

We arbitrarily set a price cap of $40 per bottle for the tasting, so we were unable to taste wines from Pomerol and Pauillac, since no wines under $40 were available locally. We substituted a Fronsac wine for Pomerol and a Moulis-en-Médoc wine for Pauillac.

Our 3 opening wines were NV Dulong Crémant de Bordeaux; 2021 Château Graville Lacoste Blanc, Graves; and 2020 Château Cap de Faugères rouge, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux.

After a brief business session, we received a brief introduction to Bordeaux and the 2020 vintage, along with a description of the wines we would be tasting. All the wines in the tasting were double-decanted at least 4 hours before tasting. This allowed the wines to open more and made them more approachable. The wines were:

Right Bank

  • 2020 Château Dalem, Fronsac
  • 2020 Château Côte de Baleau Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé

Left Bank

  • 2020 Château Cantemerle Grand Cru Classé en 1855, Haut-Médoc
  • 2020 Château La Tour de Bessan, Margaux
  • 2020 Château Mauvesin-Barton, Moulis-en-Médoc
  • 2020 Connetable de Talbot, Saint-Julien (1)
  • 2020 Château Lilian Ladouys Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel, Saint-Estèphe
  • 2020 Château Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan (2)

The formal tasting was followed by appetizers and a light dinner of beef stew accompanied by a lovely green salad along with a fruit berry salad. For dessert, we had French pastries (sablés, macarons, and canelés) and vanilla ice cream. The dessert was accompanied by a 2018 Château Doisy-Védrines Grand Cru Classé en 1855 Sauternes.

Cork pull fundraiserThe Ocean Isle Beach (NC) Chapter began its gathering in May with a “Cork Pull” fundraiser, which contributed $600 to the Chapter’s Education Scholarship Fund. It also celebrated awarding 3 scholarships this spring to students of enology and viticulture at Surry College in Dobson, North Carolina.

Members Steve and Barbara Taylor led the chapter in a fascinating – and at time humorous – presentation detailing how Paso Robles, California, was selected as the premier location to replicate the fabulous grapes and wines of the Rhone Valley Region in France. They began with “The Judgment of Paris” in May 1976, when a Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars wine won a blind tasting against French wines and put California on the wine map. The history of the Rhone Rangers was introduced featuring AWS Award of Merit Honoree Randall Grahm, the original masked Rhone Ranger.

Members had the opportunity to taste and compare a Paso Robles Rhone varietal versus a French Rhone Valley with 2 white and 5 red wines poured throughout the gathering. Rhone Ranger and Paso Robles founders Fred Cline and Gary Eberle had wines represented in the tasting.

  • 2020 Hope Family Wines Treana Blanc, $18
  • 2022 M. Chapoutier Belleruche Blanc, $15
  • 2021 Hope Family Wines Austin Hope GSM, $53
  • Maison De Rue 37, $20
  • 2020 Eberle Winery Steinbeck Vineyard Syrah, $32
  • 2021 Niner Mourvѐdre, $41
  • 2021 Cline Family Cellars Ancient Vines Mourvèdre, $17

On Friday, May 24, the Perkiomen Valley (PA) Chapter took advantage of the Finger Lakes presentations offered by the AWS CRU 100 team. Twenty-two attendees met at the home of Kristin and Jack Kraft to watch interviews with a few FLIX winemakers while tasting their wines. Foods included red beet caprese salad, smoked salmon spread, fried shrimp, and American goulash. The wines tasted were:

  • Hermann J. Weimer Cuvée Brut, $37 (1)
  • Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling, $16
  • Ravines Argetsinger Dry Riesling, $32
  • Ravines Pinot Noir, $28 (2)
  • Weimer Cabernet Franc, $26
  • Keuka Spring Blaufrankish, $16 (3)

The South Sound (WA) Chapter based out of the state’s capital city, Olympia, in May held its second chapter event at Olympia’s newest winery, Endless Sound Cellars.

Winemaker and fellow AWS member, Mark Bosso, treated members and guests to a tasting flight of wines from his cellar:

  • 2023 Pinot Gris, $28
  • 2022 Tempranillo, $32
  • 2022 Graciano, $25
  • 2022 Konnowac Vineyard Cabernet Franc, $38
  • 2022 Konnowac Vineyard Malbec, $32
  • 2022 Konnowac Vineyard Syrah, $38

In addition to the tasting flight, Mark also included an exploration of Spanish varietals/regions for the group to compare. He shared that his winemaking mentor is from Spain, which lends to his interest in Spanish varietals.

Members tried an early barrel tasting of Monastrell – a project in the works at Endless Sound – and a 2018 Bodegas Muga Seleccion Especial from the Rioja region. They also compared two different Tempranillos, a 2021 El Vergal San Gregorio from the Calatayud region and the 2022 Endless Sound Tempranillo.

The Venice (FL) Chapter had a wine tasting event on Thursday, May 30, at the Venice Fine Wine and Spirits wine store that was attended by 21 members and guests. The theme was Italian wine and food. Several Italian wines were served with chef-prepared food on premise. A local distributor presented the wines and a great time was had by all.

  • 2023 Ros Alba rose Pierpaolo Pecorari, $18 (best white)
  • 2022 Pierpaolo Pecorari Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia IGT, $19
  • 2022 Collefrisio Vignaquadra Falanghina Tierre di Chieti IGT, $19
  • 2020 Bocale Montefalco Rosso, $ 21 (best value)
  • 2019 Lodali Lorens Barbera d’Alba, $44
  • 2017 Amarone Della Valpolicella, $53

Most of the 21 attendees at the May event for the Northampton (PA) Chapter, organized by Don and Barbara Appleton, agreed it was good, considering all 10 of the wines’ average score was in ‘excellent’ to ‘extraordinary’ category, per AWS scoring standards.

The tasters expressed a slight preference for the left bank wines.

Many thanks to Don and Barbara for selecting and sharing these wonderful red Bordeaux wines! Also, a big thank you to Werner Reinartz, who shared a spectacular wine — a bottle of 2016 Chateau Les Forts de Latour, the second label of the 1st Growth Chateau Latour!

  • 2010 Chateau Olivier Pessac Leognan, Graves, $50
  • 2010 Chateau Haut-Bergey, Pessac Leognan, Graves, $40
  • 2016 Chateau Cantemerle, Haut Medoc, $40
  • 2018 Chateau Meyney, Saint Estephe, $45
  • 2012 Chateau Pontet-Canet, Pauillac, $105 (1)
  • 2010 Chatea. Lascombes, Margaux, $125 (2)
  • 2020 Chateau Les Graviers, Saint Emilion, $35
  • 2019 Chateau de Pressac, Saint Emilion, $40 (3)
  • 2020 Chateau Petit Village, Pomerol, $50
  • 2016 Chateau Clos L’Eglise. Pomerol, $125


Lake Washington WA in JuneChapter Chair Adrienne Dahlin arranged for the Lake Washington (WA) Chapter to have its June meeting at Alveare Winery in Carnation, Washington. Owner/winemaker Xander sat and spoke with the group about his winemaker philosophy, which can best be briefly described as making wine to taste as much like its French counterpart as possible. He also shared fun stories about his time working as a Peace Corps beekeeper in Africa, his wine experiences in France, and how he and his wife met salsa dancing!

Chapter members were the first to try and give feedback on 3 Stillwater Creek Vineyard blends, mixed right out of the barrels. In addition to these wines, the group tasted:

  • 2023 White Merlot,
  • 2023 Puddle Jumper Pinot Gris/Riesling
  • 2019 and 2020 GSM tasted side-by-side

The historic farm property is gorgeous, and the wine labels capture various aspects of the family, farm animals, and property.


AWS News Staff We welcome your comments and suggestions.
Jack Kraft, Editor
Natalie Dippenaar, Publisher
Chapter Events Editor
Mike Blake, NTP Coordinator
Kevin Kourofsky, Winemaker’s Corner
Larry S. Jackson, AWSEF
Diane Meyer, Conference Planner Diane@AmericanWineSociety