Newsletter – December 2021

Dec 7, 2021

AWS News

December 2021 Volume 35, No. 4

Draft strategic plan gets first public airing

The document will set the future path for the organization to serve members.

Reflecting on a successful National Conference

Incredible wines, great sessions — and members — provide a winning combination.

Recognition, competitions, fundraising, and stewardship at AWSEF

The American Wine Society Educational Foundation named its Award of Merit Winner, opened its 2022 scholarship competition, reported on fundraising, and marked a change in leadership.

Results announced for the Amateur Wine Competition

Quite a bounty: 121 winemakers won a total of 176 bronze medals, 163 silver, 14 gold,
and 20 double gold.

Member service notes

Save the date for 2022, membership renewal reminder

Getting ready for the 2022 National Tasting Project

The focus will be Sicilian wines; reporting procedures and ordering guidelines will be different.

Winemakers’ corner: Climate change and the 2021 harvest

This year was emblematic of years to come, with challenges that will not be new but will be different.

Government affairs

How government laws, regulations, and policies affect the wine industry and the prices paid by consumers.

Chapter events

Your fellow AWS members have been busy; read what they’ve been up to recently.

Draft strategic plan gets first public airing

The AWS Strategic Planning Committee in November unveiled its work product that will lay the groundwork for the future of the organization.

The draft strategic plan documents a vision and mission for the organization, then focuses on seven core values (see the nearby illustrations). It then identifies initiatives and key stakeholders to realize the values, along with establishing measurements to gauge progress.

The purpose, according to AWS President Mike Wangbickler, is to help focus on serving membership. “That’s why we’re here,” he said.

Jane Duralia, a past president of AWS who chairs the committee, said, “This is a living document. It’s designed to help the American Wine Society transition from a smaller organization to a larger one.”

Executive Director David Falchek believes the plan is important “to pass a sense of ownership to the members. It will allow us to move forward as a a unified organization to accomplish these goals.”

The plan is the byproduct of several months’ work, beginning in April 2021. Along the way, the 37 regional vice presidents received a survey and a consultant helped gather input from selected AWS members. The Board of Directors approved a draft before the plan had its first public presentation to the Executive Advisory Board at the AWS National Conference in November. The next step will be to solicit further feedback from RVPs and chapter chairs, and a public comment period also will be part of the process.

“This is not a finished plan,” emphasized Wangbickler. “We’re looking for input regarding what the American Wine Society needs to be. We want to polish this to the point where we can adopt it.”

Wangbickler forecast that, after further revision of the draft plan, formal adoption by the Board of Directors could occur in the second or third quarter of 2022, with implementation occurring afterward.

Reflecting on a successful National Conference

Wow! What a week we had in Atlantic City, New Jersey!

AWS National Conference logo

We enjoyed incredible wines from New Jersey, Domaine Bousquet, and so many more from around the world. The amateur and commercial wine competitions, education classes and testing, sessions, speakers, food and all the wine. Thank you to everyone who set up a room, helped behind the scenes, made new attendees feel welcome and gave us a smile and a compliment when it looked like we needed it. I’m always amazed at the community and comradery within the AWS that shows pride in making this event successful. It would not happen without all of YOU.

Enjoy your holidays and look for information on next year’s event, which will be in Bellevue, Washington, from Oct 27-29, 2022.

Cheers, Diane Meyer

Recognition, competitions, fundraising, and stewardship at AWSEF

In a month busy with activity, the American Wine Society Educational Foundation (AWSEF) named its Award of Merit Winner, opened its 2022 scholarship competition, reported on fundraising, and marked a change in leadership.

AWSEF logo

2021 AWSEF Award of Merit

The Carroll County (Maryland) AWS Chapter received the 2021 AWSEF Award of Merit during the AWS National Conference in Atlantic City, NJ. Walt Rachele, Treasurer of AWSEF, presented the award with these comments:

Twenty years ago, my wife and I planted a seed to memorialize one of the founding members of the national AWS, as well as the Carroll County, MD, Chapter, G. Hamilton Mowbray.

As a result of that seed, this small but mighty chapter has funded 8 scholarships by raising over $29,000 to date.

This award is a testament to the chapter chairs that followed me; the chapter members who tirelessly created annual fundraising events, and the generous chapter members who believed the cause worthy of their donations.

Belonging to a chapter that shares the goal of helping further the education of young people involved in the research of grape growing and wine making has been rewarding.

The chapter has hosted several scholarship winners as speakers for their meetings and thus they have had first-hand feedback from the beneficiaries of their donations.

Despite Covid disruption of normal chapter meetings, the Carroll County Chapter is on track to fund another scholarship by the end of this year.

To Corynne Courpas, the current chapter chair, thank you for keeping the inspiration alive.

Scholarship Applications Open January 1

The AWSEF annual scholarship application period opens January 1 and closes March 31. Be sure to spread the word to any folks in the industry who may know of graduate students doing wine-related research.

The application is based on academics and research. The application is online, with instructions, at Please contact Holly Tillis,, with any questions or comments.

Video of 2021 scholarship recipients

Our 2021 scholarship recipient video, created by Holly Tillis, vice president for scholarships, is now available on our Facebook page and on our website,

During this 18-minute video, you will meet all the 2021 scholarship winners as they outline their graduate research projects. Please share the video with your local chapter members, friends, and on your Facebook page. We are very proud of these young, academically talented men and women!

Fundraising at National Conference

The AWSEF Silent Auction held at the AWS National Conference brought the foundation $8,574 on more than 160 items (including $1,625 for our onsite bottle raffle for the 5-liter Madrigal 2003 Petite Syrah) received from loyal AWS members, AWSEF supporters, wineries, and small businesses.

We are incredibly grateful to all those who donated and bid on items to help us raise money for future scholarships. AWSEF Board member, Christine Murphy, with great help from volunteers Annette Jackson and Denise Griner, did an incredible job making everything work; thank you all! We look forward to doing it all again in 2022!

This year we again held an online, pre-conference raffle because of generous support from Banfi Vintners Foundation. Jaime Zapata, RVP-Alabama/Mississippi, won when his name was drawn at the Saturday breakfast. (Jaime also won the first raffle we held in 2018!). The raffle raised $3,845 for AWSEF — a huge thank you to everyone who purchased raffle tickets for a chance on this wonderful bottle and an especially big thank you to Banfi Vintners Foundation for this donation and its continued support of AWSEF.

A change on our Board of Trustees

Christine Murphy

Thanks to everyone who responded to our emailed ballot this year as we elected Trustees to the AWSEF Board. (You may recall that we fill three of our six elected board seats in every odd-numbered year; two other board seats are held by an of-counsel member and the AWSEF president.)

The end of 2021 marks the end of Christine Murphy’s time with us, and we’re sad to see her go. Christine has been the powerhouse behind our Silent Auction the past four years and has done a great job. (Christine, you can still volunteer at the Silent Auction!)

In Christine’s place, we welcome Denise Griner, who won the election to fill the board seat. Denise already has experience with the Silent Auction, as she’s volunteered her time to help us during the last several years.

Krsten Lindelow, President of AWSEF

Bonnie Lance and Larry Jackson were re-elected to serve four more years on the board, and we appreciate their continued dedication and service.

Thank you all for your continued support of the AWSEF. May your holidays be happy, healthy, and filled with family, friends, and great wines!

Kristen Lindelow, AWSEF President

Results announced for the Amateur Wine Competition

Let me begin by thanking all those folks who helped with this year’s competition. Beginning with the team that checked in almost 500 amateur wines at Bellview Winery, the winery gave up valuable space at harvest time to allow our wines to have a home before the competition began.

Next are the folks who organized the wine at the competition and poured it using the Coravin Preservation System®; their hard work is not seen by many, but is invaluable to a smooth competition. Then, there are our judges; putting their palates to the test, working all day to analyze and provide helpful guidance to those who entered. And most important, the winemakers who submitted wines for evaluation. AWS was founded by winemakers; our competition keeps that legacy alive.

We recognized many of the winemakers at the conference. For those who were not present, we mailed their medals and the judges’ comments to them. If you’re wondering if your favorite amateur winemaker received an award, you can find a complete list here on the AWS website.

I’m always looking for new ways to conduct the competition to make it run more smoothly and provide more value to the submitting winemakers. In addition, for those who want to become involved, I’m more than willing to pass your contact information to the Competition Coordinator to get you on our team.

For the second year, all judges’ notes are scanned and then reviewed for quality control. Although I still need to finish reading my copy of each note, I will be laying the groundwork for the 2022 Amateur Wine Competition in Bellevue, Washington, in the next month.

As always, should you have any questions or suggestions for improvement, please drop me a note at my Amateur Wine Competition email address (

May you have a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends, and of course wine!

Vince Williams, chair of the Amateur Wine Competition

Member Service notes

Colleen Reardon
Colleen Reardon,
Member Service Manager

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone for the first time at the National Conference in Atlantic City in November. We’ve had a lot of great follow up conversations since. We are happy to provide chapters with any marketing materials they need for the new year or information about our programs; please just reach out.

Also, be sure to save the dates for our next National Conference in Bellevue, Washington, from Oct. 27-29, 2022. I know it seems like a long time away, but it will be here before we know it.

Importantly, keep in mind that we are in the membership renewal period. If you are not on auto-renew (always the easiest way to keep your membership up to date), it may be time to renew your membership. You can login to your profile anytime to make sure your information is up to date and your membership is current. If you have trouble logging in, call me at 888-297-2640 or send an email to We want to make sure your membership stays active so you don’t miss any upcoming events in your local chapter.

Getting ready for 2022 National Tasting Project

Sicily has been announced as the focus of the 2022 National Tasting Project.

The NTP 2022 process will change to web-based, with all information available on the website. This includes:

  • Educational information
  • Meeting presentation
  • Ordering information
  • Food and wine pairings
  • How to organize and run an event

The website info will be live on January 2, 2022.

Mike Blake
Mike Blake
NTP Chair

Due to supply chain issues, ordering this year also will change. To secure the best prices, the wine ordering window will be January 2 until February 28. The retailer will call to confirm your order and request a 10% deposit in advance. Delivery is expected in March/April. After February 28, ordering may possible, but prices & wine availability may vary.

Wine evaluations must be submitted by September 30, 2022.

A brief, forthcoming survey (only 8 questions) asks whether you have participated in NTP previously, as well as seeking info about your likes and dislikes.

Please send all inquiries to Mike Blake at

Winemakers’ corner: Reflections on climate change

By Kevin Kourofsky

Tom Mitchell, an iconic grape grower in the Finger Lakes, alas no longer with us, once said that everyone always talks about the “average” growing season, but in all his time he had never experienced one. I can appreciate what Tom meant.

Kevin Kourofksy

I began growing grapes in 2005. If it was true that wine is made in the vineyard, I wanted to understand that side of winemaking. So, I planted what can only be called a micro vineyard of no more than 30 vines in my backyard. I have certainly struggled to keep these vines alive, healthy and producing grapes. I now have an even greater respect for those individuals who have acres of vines to care for.

If you grow anything outside, you probably appreciate that weather is variable, and every year presents its own challenges. But over the last decade, especially the last 5 years, I have begun to notice a change in the climate, defined as the usual weather in a region. The vineyard challenges are changing. Big or small growers (or tiny in my case), cool climate or warm climate growers, all will have to reevaluate how we deal with climate change. The problem of global warming is a “macro” problem. In the vineyard we have to deal with the “micro” changes: This problem is called variability in the vineyard.

Continue reading here.

Government Affairs

When was the last time that you sat down and seriously thought about how governments affect the wine industry? Yet, governments create laws and regulations, adopt practices that contribute to inflation, and will attempt to control climate change — all of which have effects.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that women have no more than one alcoholic drink per day; men can have up to two. It considers more than that to be heavy or binge drinking.

Since Americans seem to be consuming more alcohol each year, the CDC has come up with recommendations so we’ll drink less:

  • Increase alcohol taxes
  • Decrease alcohol outlet density
  • Increase commercial host liability
  • Decrease the number of days and hours when alcohol can be sold
  • Decrease the number of private retail alcohol sales locations
  • Increase the number of government-operated retail alcohol sales locations

I sense that many of our AWS members might fall into CDC “problem” categories even though I don’t know of any AWS members whom I would consider to be alcohol “abusers.” Still, the feds likely will put all alcoholic beverage consumers into one category so that we can all be governed by the anti-alcohol recommendations shown above.

If you think that these regulations will never occur, remember what happened to tobacco users. If wine suddenly costs more and is more difficult to buy, how will that affect the U.S. wine industry?

California is our largest wine-producing state, and wineries there already have government-restricted water usage, production rates, and limits on the number of visitors in their tasting rooms.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled years ago that it is unconstitutional for states to restrict the sale and delivery of wines by out-of-state retailers, yet several states have ignored the decision.

On this point, I have a special shout-out to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) which provides an unbelievable example of incompetence. Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth and Supreme Courts both found previously that the PLCB violated a 2016 state law by not allowing direct shipments of wine to restaurants and continuing to charge handling fees of up to $1.75 per bottle. The agency was supposed to stop receiving those payments by June 2017. It didn’t, and still hasn’t.

Recent Commonwealth Court proceedings focused on asking the PLCB to refund tens of millions of dollars in handling fees and to pay unspecified damages, costs, and interest to the restaurants and private retailers, as well as lawyers’ fees. Instead, a lawyer for the PLCB contended that the independent state agency has sovereign immunity and should not have to pay refunds. A judge pointedly asked the lawyer for the PLCB, “How do we get the government to stop violating the law?”

The PLCB announced in September that it would start allowing direct shipments next July, more than five years after it was supposed to have done so.

Higher wine prices because of government regulation will always be passed on to consumers.


Prices for domestic wine have stayed relatively constant over the last few years, while imported wine prices generally rose — in part, because of tariffs.

However, now the cost of just about everything is going up. Some experts say inflation results from the government printing too much currency, and various fiscal measures that increase deficits and drive up the cost of borrowing, and policy decisions that constrain supplies of products such as energy — thus, making things more expensive.

The bottom line is that when more money chases the same or fewer goods, production costs increase — and these increases also will be passed along to the consumer.

Climate change

Every grape grower understands that crop farming is risky. This past year, we have seen droughts, fires, storms, floods, insects, and early and late freezes. As a result, most of the northern hemisphere harvested reduced grape tonnages this year, while the southern hemisphere produced increased grape tonnages.

However, precipitation and temperatures differ every year. Long-term weather patterns are not predictable. Undoubtedly, our world-wide climate is changing, but we don’t really understand everything that contributes to it. And if we don’t, then how can we control it?

Tom Cobett
Tom Cobett

Farmers take a practical, self-directed approach: They will modify what they grow so they can succeed. Government, on the other hand, will tax or regulate people and businesses to modify behaviors to a desired course, and those taxes/costs will be passed on to consumers.


The recurring theme here is that higher costs will always be passed on to consumers. Many of our currently high costs are happening because of decisions by our government. If you don’t like higher costs, you need to become involved: for example, seek out and elect better representatives at every level of government. In the short term, be prepared to pay more for everything — and start thinking long term.

Chapter Events

The Derby Somms Chapter (KY) held a tasting hosted by James Sinks and Gabriella Brown. The theme was Italian grapes all from VJB Cellars, all from the 2015 vintage. Five wines were poured blind and given to the members for tasting:

  • 2015 VJB Cellars Primitivo, Sonoma, CA $31 (1)
  • 2015 VJB Cellars Montepulciano, Sonoma, CA, $52 (2)
  • 2015 VJB Cellars Dolcetto, Sonoma, CA, $32 (3-tie)
  • 2015 VJB Cellars Brunello di Belmonte, Sonoma, CA, $62 (3-tie)
  • 2015 VJB Cellars Sagrantino, Sonoma, CA, $51

The Fleur-de-Lis Chapter of Louisville (KY) held a tasting on September 18, 2021, hosted by David and Alicia Scheu. Six wines were poured blind for members to taste. The theme for the tasting was “favorites”, as each wine or winery was a favorite of one of the members. Results from highest to lowest scored are listed below.

  • 2017 Penfolds Shiraz Bin 28 Kalimna, Australia, $28 (1)
  • 2014 Foley Johnson Meritage, Napa Valley, CA, $50 (2)
  • 2016 Avril Domaine Juliette Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France, $45 (3)
  • 2017 Prospice Syrah Les Collins Vineyard, Walla Walla, WA, $30
  • 2016 Hermann J. Wiemer Cabernet Franc Magdalena Vineyard, Finger Lakes, NY, $32
  • 2011 Vitanza Brunello di Montalcino Andretta, Italy, $50

The Emerald Coast Chapter (FL) held its October tasting of Rhône Wines at Jim and Gloria DePury’s lovely home in Navarre. After a social period with delicious appetizers Gloria prepared for the 24 members, Jim shared the geography and history of the Rhône Valley. He described the Northern and Southern Rhône regions and explained the classification of Rhone wines and semi-carbonic maceration (fermenting whole clusters of grapes), which is often used to make Rhone wines.

The members tasted 7 wines, starting with 2 from the Northern Rhône region of Crozes-Hermitage; both were 100% Syrah and quite young. Next, they moved south to the largest area, Côtes du Rhône, and tasted 4 wines. Bellaruche and Famille Perrin were Grenache-Syrah blends. Beauchene is Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Marslean and Carignan. St. Cosme was 100% Syrah. Perrin was a good value and is widely available. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Grenache, Syrah & Mourvedre) was the group’s favorite and ready to drink now. After the tasting, we enjoyed Bill Davey’s Daube Provençale Beef Stew and the beautiful weather on DePury’s dock and patio. It was a great day!

  • 2016 Ch. Giognan Clos du Roi Châteauneuf-du-Pape (violets, wet dog, blackberries, full-bodied), $38 (1)
  • 2018 Cave de Tain Nobles Rives Crozes-Hermitage (jammy, cedar, astringent, pumpkin pie spice) $25 (2)
  • 2018 Famille Perrin Reserve, Côtes du Rhne (violets, caramel, peppery, good balance), $10 (2)
  • 2020 St. Cosme, Côtes-du-Rhône (grapey, black pepper, needs food), $15 (3)
  • 2018 J.V. Fleury Crozes-Hermitage $30 (violets, cherry, minerality, tannic, hot)
  • 2019 M. Chapoutier Bellaruche, Côtes du Rhône (easy drinking, black pepper, spicy) $13
  • 2019 Ch. Beauchene Grand Res., Côtes du Rhône (light, soft, pleasant, unremarkable), $11

The Hammonton Chapter (NJ) with Jaki Giberson and Ron Cullen hosted Wines of Tuscany where each member/couple brought a bottle. People enjoyed wines on Jaki and Ron’s lovely patio alongside pizza, a delicious mixed greens salad, and a panzanella salad. At the conclusion of the tasting, they were treated to 2 special items; a fabulous ice cream cake from a local shop to celebrate Ron’s birthday and a Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc from Roche Winery which was brought back from Sonoma by chapter chair Jen Merkel.

  • Brancaia Tre 2016, $24 (1)
  • Barone Ricasoli Casalferro 2015, $80 (2)
  • Ruffino Modus Rosso Toscana 2017, $29 (3)

The Kish Valley Chapter (PA) held its 2nd in-person meeting on September 19, 2021, at Stonefly Café in Reedsville PA. Twelve members were present along with two guests. This chapter was newly formed in July 2021.

The program, presented by Scott Bubb, winemaker and owner of Seven Mountains Wine Cellars, Spring Mills, PA, focused on the life and wines of Dr. Konstantin Frank of the Konstantin Frank Winery of Hammondsport New York. A short video was shown entitled, “An American and his Wine.” Highlights included Dr. Frank’s renowned contributions in launching and successfully growing vinifera grapes in the cold New York climate. Dr. Frank was a pioneer in the growth of wine appreciation in the United States, being acclaimed as the founding member of the American Wine Society in October of 1967.

Four wines from the Frank Winery Hammondsport New York, (Finger Lakes), were poured, tasted, rated, and enjoyed along with complimentary snacks provided by the members. Results of the highest to the lowest scored:

  • 2020 Dry Riesling, from original vines planted in 1958, $16 (1)
  • 2018 Amur, native to northern China and Southeran Siberia, brought to the Finger Lakes by Dr. Frank’s son, Willi, $30 (2)
  • 2020 Hilda, single-vineyard planting of Chardonnay, $35 (3)
  • 2020 Rkatsiteli, oldest known grape variety in the world, $17.

The Lehigh Valley Chapter (PA) with 13 members attended a “Bring a Bottle That Hurts” Tasting held at Bob and Kim Hale’s home. Each attending member was to bring a bottle of wine from their cellar to share and discuss with the members. The wines were:

  • 2009 Clarendon Hills Astralis Syrah, Australia (1)
  • 2011 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa (2)
  • 2009 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa (3)
  • 1975 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa
  • 2002 Rolf Binder Shiraz, Australia
  • 2009 Morey St. Denis Burgundy, France
  • 2014 Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, California
  • 2012 Pagina Cab Franc, Malbec, Argentina
  • 2011 Monteverro Cab, Merlot, Italy
  • 2012 Beta (Melka) Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma
  • 2013 Ramey Syrah, Napa
  • 2015 Conn Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa
  • 2016 Ciacci Brunello Sangiovese, Italy

On October 24, Michele and Kevin Campbell of the Lehigh Valley Chapter (PA) hosted an introduction to Spanish wines tasting at the Trolley Barn Public Market in Quakertown. About 40 members came to learn about Spanish wines. The tasting included 12 wines, tasted in pairs, plus a Cava as the icebreaker.

  • Bodega Cuatro Rayas, $9
  • Granbazan Etiqueta Verde, $12
  • Bodegas Nodus Chaval, $10
  • Descendientes de Jose Palacios Petalos, $20
  • Tres Picos, $15
  • Mira Salinas, $16
  • Carlos Serres Gran Reserva, $16
  • Resalte de Penafiel Lecco Crianza, $14
  • Bodegas Y Vinedos Valderiz, $29 (1-tie)
  • Contino Reserva, $30 (3)
  • Bodegas Frutos Villar Muruve Reserva, $13 (2)
  • Cellars Unio Roureda Llicorella Vitis 60, $25 (1-tie)

The Perkiomen Valley Chapter (PA) featured value wines from the Rhone region at its November 20 tasting. The 11 members hosted by Mary and Walt Kosar tasted 6 wines from the southern Rhone. They discussed how the climate of the southern Rhone has a Mediterranean influence, with hotter summers and milder winters than the northern Rhone, which accounts for the type of grapes grown (mainly Grenache Blanca for whites and Grenache for reds, with other blending grapes added). The roster of wines from the tasting was:

  • Gran Classiques, Domaine de la Presidente Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2020, $15 (favorite white)
  • M Chapoutier La Ciboise Blanc Luberon 2018, $9
  • La Cave les Coteaux du Rhone Cotes du Rhone Rouge Vieilles Vignes 2019, $10 (favorite red)
  • Gran Classiques, Domaine De La Presidente Cotes Du Rhone Rouge 2020, $12
  • Belleruche, M.Chapoutier, Cote Du Rhone Rouge 2019, $14
  • Cellier des Terres Blanches Intuition Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2018, $10

The Princeton Chapter (NJ) hosted a tasting of distinctives wines from Italy held by Mary Lou and Bill Spang. The wines tasted encompassed the regions of Lombardy, Veneto, Friuli, Marche, Abruzzo, Puglia, Tuscany and Sardinia.

The evening started with a sparkling wine toast of 2014Franciacorta Saten Brut. Of the wines tasted, the top-rated whites were Malvasia del Salento, Lepiga Soave and Trebbiano D’Abruzzo. The two top-rated red wines were Primitivo and Rosso Veronese.

Myrtle Beach Chapter (SC) met Oct. 21, 2021, for tailgating wines with chapter chair and co-chair Richard & Mary Berezinsky and 30 members/guests. Wines were paired with tailgating foods and NFL teams and NFL teams from the states the wines came from. The group learned which wines tasted best with pork barbecue, fried chicken, potato salad, chips & dips, and even dessert.

  • 2018 Charles Woodson’s Intercept Chardonnay (Green Bay Packers) $19
  • 2020 Dr. Konstantin Frank Rkatsitelli (Buffalo Bills) $17
  • 2018 Substance Chardonnay (Seattle Seahawks) $17
  • 2019 Mina Mesa Paso Robles Zinfandel (LA Rams) $12
  • 2019 Horton Tower Series Norton (Washington Football Team) $16
  • 2019 Childress Three Red Blend (Carolina Panthers) $10
  • 2019 Galen Glen Chambourcin (Philadelphia Eagles) $17
  • 2020 Head Over Heels Sweet Riesling (Detroit Lions) $18

The Northampton Chapter (PA) held a blind tasting hosted by John and Ann featuring Riesling, Bordeaux blends, and Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from countries producing quality wines. Top wines were:

  • 2018, Penfolds Bin 704 Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia, $70 (1)
  • 2018, Weingut St. Urbanhof, Riesling, Germany, $20 (2-tie)
  • 2019, Eroica, Reisling, Washington, USA, $19 (2-tie)

On October 24, the North Wake Chapter (NC) held a meeting at Heritage View Clubhouse in Wake Forest, and tasted 7 wines presented by Christine Worsham of Wines for Humanity. Wines for Humanity hosts wine tasting events and donates to charity a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every bottle. The chapter designated the Jim “Catfish” Hunter ALS Foundation. Wines tasted were:

  • 2019 Duca Bortini Contese De Sedige, Italy, $25
  • 2019 Deel Jou Hart Chenin Blanc, South Africa, $25
  • 2017 Pierre Laforest Chardonnay, France, $25
  • 2019 Duca Bortini Sangiovese, Sicily, $20
  • 2018 Rouge Comedie, France (Bordeaux), $32
  • 2019 Kakadu Ridge Red Blend, S.E. Australia, $27
  • La Peche Sparkling, France, $26

The Ocean Isle Beach Chapter (NC) met on Sunday, September 19, 2021, at the Silver Coast Winery for a presentation of cool climate versus warm climate. Forty-two members attended the tasting. After a brief discussion of the influence climate can have on the scent, taste, aftertaste, and appearance of a wine, host Stan Barwikowski put the group to the test. They blindly tasted four pairs of wines to see if the group could discern which came from grapes grown in a warm climate as opposed to the cool climate. Seven of the members correctly identified the origin. After some tie breaker questions, Carol Maher was presented with a prize. Pairings included salami, two cheeses, breadsticks, cashews, dark chocolate and fig spread.

Paired groups were the following:

  • Groth Sauvignon Blanc (warm climate), $18
  • Kia Ora Sauvignon Blanc (cool climate), $16
  • Olema Chardonnay Reserve (warm climate), $20
  • Domaine Loubejac (cool climate), $18
  • Grove Pinot Noir (cool climate), $22
  • Tuli Pinto Noir (warm climate), $30
  • 1858 Cabernet Sauvignon Paso (warm climate), $35
  • Radius Cabernet Reserve (cool climate), $18

The Piedmont Wine and Vine Chapter (SC) met on October 17 at the Wofford College Environmental Studies Center on the banks of Lawson’s Fork Creek in Glendale, SC. The site is in a historic textile mill and is a beautiful nature site and fully restored facility. There were 20 members present at the tasting.

The theme of the tasting was to do a blind tasting of the top selling wines from Total Wines which were under $25 a bottle. Members were asked to identify the variety, country, vintage, price, alcohol percentage of the wines (see below). Members had a good time trying to figure out which wines they were tasting and judging the various attributes.

Members compared the Total Wines ratings with those given by the group. While they differed somewhat, the top choice for whites was the Prosecco and top red was the Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina.

  • NV Prosecco, Santi Nello, Italy, $17
  • 2020 Pinot Grigio, Conte Fini, Italy, $20
  • 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, Amici, California, $25
  • 2019 Chardonnay, Olema, California, $20
  • 2020 Pinot Noir, Vennstone, California, $20
  • 2018 Bordeaux Blend, Neethlingshof, South Africa
  • 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Mascota, Argentina

A wonderful dinner was also served and a grand evening was enjoyed by all!

Beth Camann and Paul VanHorn, co-chapter chairs of the Rochester Chapter (NY) initiated a series of “Special Tastings”. In addition to the regular monthly tastings, they intend to present these tastings in a small group format to focus on a particular topic of interest.

The first “Special Tasting” was held Sunday, October 3, at Parkway Discount Wine & Liquor in Greece, NY. Eighteen members enjoyed a tasting of 12 unique Italian wines hosted by Parkway’s resident wine expert Matt Strassman, and their very own Certified Sommelier Erika Sato.

The wines and the presentation were amazing and many of the varietals presented were new to the attendees. Although the white wines were outstanding, there was a 3-way tie for second place.

  • 2020 La Lastra Vernaccia di San Giminano, $16.99
  • 2018 Castelfeder “Lahn” Kerner, $19.99
  • 2020 Donnafugata Anthilia Cataratto, $17.99
  • 2017 Cesari Cento Filari Lugana, $16.99 (2 – tie)
  • 2019 Elvio Tintero Langhe Arneis, $13.99
  • 2019 Vinosia Greco Di Tufo L’ Ariella, $16.99
  • 2019 Manincor “der Keil” Schiava, $19.99 (2 – tie)
  • 2020 Pico Maccario Lavignone Barbera d’Asti, $14.99
  • 2018 Bruni Morellino di Scansano, $16.99 (1)
  • 2018 Giannitessari Tai Rosso, $14.99 (3)
  • 2019 Schola Sarmenti Roccamora Negroamaro, $17.99 (2 – tie)
  • 2018 Cesari Mara Valpolicella Ripasso, $18.99

The Shallotte Chapter (NC) held a tasting where members learned the history of the Romans making wines in Italy in the 8th Century B.C., and in addition planted many vineyards initially in southern Italy. It took many more centuries to refine the winemaking process and in so doing winemakers discovered that wines aged in oak barrels tasted better. However, phylloxera outbreak played havoc and it wasn’t until the 1960s, when laws were enacted, that their reputation was enhanced. They also learned the 20 wine regions in Italy and they are second to Spain in exports.

The ratings of the wines in order of popularity and their varietal profile scores were:

  • 2016 La Serena Brunello Di Montalcino, $49.99 (1)
  • 2016 Michele Chiarlo Tortoniano Barolo, $54.99 (2)
  • 2018 Zenato Valpolicella Seuperiore, $15.99 (3)
  • 2020 Colleleva Verdicchio, $15.99
  • 2019 Pieropan Soave – Garganega, $17.99
  • 2019 Vietti Barbera D ’Asti Trevigne, $18.99
  • 2019 Tiberio – Pecorino, $23.99

The Triangle Chapter (NC) met on August 15, 2021, at the home of AWS members Al and June Decker for a tasting titled “You (Never) Heard It Through the Grapevine,” an opportunity to discover unusual wines.

Did you know there are now more than 10,000 wine grape varieties in the world? However, only a few have achieved widespread popularity and acclaim. We are all familiar with Merlots, Cabernets, and Zinfandels, yet there are many great varietals from all over the world that just may not be on the tip of your tongue (pun intended).

The tasting event focused on several of those grapes such as Ribolla Gialla, Furmint and Marzemino. Many people lose sight of these grapes, have no knowledge of them, and therefore they are unpopular.

  • 2016 Krasno Ribolla Gialla – Slovinia, $17
  • 2019 Versus Furmint – Slovinia, $20
  • 2019 Natte Valley Cinsault – South Africa, $22
  • 2017 EnCalma Bobal – Spain, $17
  • 2017 Dominum QP Tourica Nacional – Portugal, $24 (3)
  • 2014 Tofanelli Bonardo (Charbono) – Napa CA, $40 (1)
  • 2015 Raina Sagrantino Unbria – Italy, $35 (2)

The Venice Vinos Chapter (FL) held a tasting at the home of Lois Wixler on Sunday, September 12, 2021. The theme was wines from the Loire Valley, and they were paired with wonderful appetizers provided by the 14 guests.

  • NV DeBussy Saumur Rose sparkling crémant, $13
  • 2020 Domaine Toussaint Vouvray Chenin Blanc, $20
  • 2019 LeDomaine Muscadet Sevre et Maine, $12 (best value)
  • 2020 Olema Sauvignon Blanc Loire, $15
  • 2020 Les Franches Sancerre by Jolnet Sauvignon Blanc, $30 (best white)
  • 2017 Cuvee Signee by Romain Paarisis Chinon, $17
  • 2018 Bourgueil Cabernet Franc, $15 (best red)

The Walt Whitman Chapter (NJ) tasting inSeptember 2021 was hosted by Bruce and Donna Smith and featured Hungarian wines. Accompanying the wines were appetizers which featured Hungarian sausage kolbasz; a Hungarian stew and kaposztás tésztat (cabbage & noodles) main course; and delicious desserts. The wines paired well with the cuisine.

  • NV Hernyak Extra Dry, Etyek Region, $30 (3)
  • 2018 Cseri Rajnai Rizling, Pannonhalma Region, $22
  • 2019 Hernyak Zoldveltelini (Gruve), Etyek Region, $23
  • 2017 Hernyak Pinot Noir, Etyek Region, $26
  • 2017 Cseri Pinceszet Cabernet Franc, $30 (2)
  • 2017 Cseri Pinceszet Kekfrankos, Pannonhalma Region, $26 (1)

The Walt Whitman Chapter (NJ) tasting inOctober 2021, “Beyond the Greeks,” was hosted by Rosemary and Michael DiNatale. The tasting was held at the Aroma Mediterranean Restaurant. Jackson-Triggs Vidal Ice Wine (Canada) was served with dessert. The wines paired well with the cuisine.

  • 2019 Segal’s Fusion White Blend (Israel), $14.98
  • 2014 Jeune White (Lebanon), $17.96
  • 2018 Ktima Biblia Chora (Greece), $18.48 (2)
  • 2020 Alpha Estate Sauvignon Blanc (Republic of North Macedonia), $16.98 (1)
  • 2018 Vouni Panayia (Cypress), $16.98 (3)
  • 2018 Popova Kula Tikvesh Temjanika Aristokrat (Republic of North Macedonia), $16.79
Adrienne Turner

To have your event included in the AWS News, e-mail your tasting results to me at
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 StaffWe welcome your comments and suggestions.
Jack Kraft,
David Falchek,