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National Conference

AWS National Wine Conference 2020--Virtual

As always, you can expect knock-your-socks-off wine sessions.


We've held a conference every year for 52 years, and 2020 can't stop us! Our online format for 2020 allows any AWS member to attend at no charge. Your only cost is the wines you choose to buy to taste along with us. Our national conference is only for members, but joining is easy. Click the Join Now link at the top of the page.


See our featured speakers and session times below. Wine ordering information is available after you register.

Check out images from our 2019 conference in St. Pete Beach, FL.


Industry partners: Expose your brand to America’s largest community of wine explorers.

See our multiple sponsorship options.

Wine Conference Sponsors

Meet the Speakers

We have a lineup of internationally known speakers, including four AWS Award of Merit winners.

Paul Wagner
Fortified Wines of Iberia
Saturday, Nov. 7, 4:00 – 5:00 pm ET

No wines have a richer history than Sherry, Port, and Madeira. And in this session, Paul Wagner will not only talk us through how these wines are made, he will also tell us how these wines are tied to the most important moments in history, from the Western Wave of Islam to the Battle of Waterloo, and to George Washington. Sure to give you lots to taste, and tales to tell.

Paul Wagner has been an instructor for Napa Valley College's Viticulture and Enology department for the past twenty-five years and teaches in the graduate program at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.

In 2009 he was honored with a “Life Dedicated to Wine” award at the Feria Nacional del Vino (FENAVIN).

Mr. Wagner founded Balzac Communications & Marketing in 1991. He is now retired from active duty at the agency and enjoys the title of President Emeritus there.

Jim Bernau
Pioneering Oregon Wine
Saturday, Nov. 7, 2:30 – 3:30 pm ET

Taste through wines that tell the story of Oregon’s pioneering development into a world-class growing region. Pioneering Oregon winemaker and Willamette Valley Vineyards founder Jim Bernau brings his wines and dynamic storytelling.

Jim has been dedicated to telling the Oregon Wine story for over 40 years with his wines. The “budwood” of Willamette Valley Vineyards began long before its founding in 1983 by Jim when his Dad, a Roseburg lawyer, was hired by a California winemaker to secure one of the first winery licenses in Oregon since Prohibition. Jim’s Dad allowed small tastes of Richard Sommer’s wine at the dinner table, lighting a path that led Jim from home winemaking to studies at UC Davis and eventually Beaune, France.

Jim played a founding role in the fermentation science program at Oregon State University and in creating an opportunity for wine enthusiasts from all walks of life to become active winery owners.

Sharron McCarthy
Bewitching, Beguiling, Bewildering BRUNELLO!!!
Saturday, Nov. 7, 12:30 – 1:30 pm ET

Kevin Zraly, in his book, RED WINE, heralds Brunello di Montalcino as the “zenith of Sangiovese.” Does it “bother” you that Brunello bewitches us with its taste, beguiles us with its history and bewilders us as it is born of 100% Sangiovese? What makes Brunello so remarkable? Is it soil, microclimate, clones? Join us as we suggest answers to these enduring questions. We plan to swirl, sniff and sip through three of Montalcino’s beloved reds.

Sharron McCarthy, Director Emeritus and Past President of the U.S. Society of Wine Educators and former VP Wine Education at Banfi Vintners, is a wine industry legend. Affectionately known as “America’s First Lady of Wine Ed,” Sharron has played an instrumental role in introducing Americans from all walks of life to an appreciation for the fruit of the vine.

At the heart of her success is a refreshingly unpretentious, progressive approach, firmly aimed at demystifying wine.

Sharron McCarthy’s wine business career began in 1978 when she joined the Consumer Affairs Department at Banfi Vintners. For a time, she partnered with the Italian Trade Commission in New York. Sharron was inducted into the Wines of Italy Hall of Fame to honor her as a goodwill ambassador for Italian wines and for her dedication to the country of Italy and to the Italian way of life.

Mark Davidson
There is No Such Thing as Australian Shiraz
Thursday, Nov. 5, 8:00 – 9:10 pm ET

Shiraz is planted in almost every region in Australia. Due to its different climates, soils and growing conditions, Australia has the greatest diversity of styles and qualities of Shiraz in the world. This complex array of styles and qualities are informed by the regions and terroirs that work in combination with creative winemaking techniques.

From intense, bold and concentrated through to lean and focused, there is a dazzling spectrum of styles to be explored. In this session, Wine Australia’s Head of Education, Mark Davidson, will challenge the term “Australian Shiraz” and ask why we continue to refer to it this way given the range of expressions and regional distinction.

Born in London, raised in Sydney, Mark has over 35 years of experience in the hotel, restaurant and wine business, fifteen of those as a Sommelier.

In 2001 he was named Sommelier of the Year at the Vancouver Wine Festival. He also won the Spirited Industry Professional award in 2014.

As a Department Head and instructor with the International Sommelier Guild, he was instrumental in the on-going development of the curriculum and has taught classes. He is in the process of writing the Wines of Australia book for Classic Wine Library.

Mark is currently Head of Education for Wine Australia in North America.

Bartholomew Broadbent
Chateau Musar, an Icon in the World of Wine
Wednesday, Nov. 4, 8:00 – 9:15 ET

This year, with an economic crisis and the tragic explosion in Beirut, Lebanon has suffered worse hardship than they experienced even during the civil war of the 1970s and 80s. Yet, they carry on. Chateau Musar is considered by many to be the greatest wine in the world. Bartholomew Broadbent certainly agrees and will talk you through this unique wine’s history, geography, character and how the winery has endured hardship but never missed a vintage. Bartholomew will focus on four of their wines and you can buy all four to taste, but, if you only open one to taste tonight, it has to be the iconic red: Chateau Musar Rouge.

Decanter magazine named Bartholomew Broadbent one of the “fifty most influential in the wine world…the faces to watch in the new millennium,” and Wine & Spirits magazine named him one of ten in the world to be “driving the most revolutionary changes in wine." Bartholomew is one of America’s leading wine importers. His company, Broadbent Selections, Inc., represents such famous brands as Chateau Musar, Tyrrell’s and Spy Valley. He produces Port, Madeira, Vinho Verde, Dao and Douro wines in Portugal under the Broadbent name, as well as an eponymous Gruner Veltliner in Austria. Bartholomew is the son of the late Michael Broadbent MW, world renowned wine author and auctioneer.

Peter Mondavi, Jr.
Grand Banquet
Saturday, Nov. 7, 7 - 9 pm ET

For our concluding event, our "Grand Banquet," we will hear from long-time AWS friend Peter Mondavi, Jr. In addition to updating us on how the California wine industry has dealt with the dual challenges of wildfires and a pandemic, he'll have a wine or two to share. We will celebrate some other AWS final night traditions and mark the end of our 53rd Annual Conference. Wine ordering information still to come.

Peter, alongside his brother Marc, is co-proprietor of Charles Krug Winery, the pioneering, family-owned estate winery. Peter was raised at the winery and later earned degrees in mechanical engineering and business at Stanford University.



Contact us

American Wine Society
PO Box 889
Scranton, PA 18501
(888) 297-9070