The American Wine Society’s 50th Anniversary Celebration! | Jessica Altieri
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The American Wine Society’s 50th Anniversary Celebration!

Jessica Altieri on August 28, 2017 - 11:13 am in WineChannelTV

Kalahari Resort in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania  November 2-4, 2017

Author: Ellen Landis, CS, CSW

 American Wine SocietyThe American Wine Society, North America’s largest consumers organization for wine aficionados, is planning a grand celebration this fall for its 50th anniversary.  The setting for this year’s conference is the Kalahari Resort in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania.  This year’s conference is sold out; hopefully many of you have your tickets secured.   If you are not attending this year, now is a good time to join the AWS.  As a member, you will have the opportunity to take part in 2018 events, and register early to attend the 2018 conference next year.

This year’s three-day conference begins on Thursday November 2nd with a welcome reception. Fascinating seminars are scheduled to connect you with fellow wine lovers and colleagues, heighten your sensory perception of wine, please your palate, and provide enlightenment about wines from around the world.  Here is just a snapshot of the many seminars scheduled for the 2017 conference:

There is Something About Gruner!  Meet four talented winemakers/vintners crafting Gruner Veltliner in four unique AVAs across the USA.  Stephen M. Reustle, Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards (Oregon), Sarah C. Rhodes-Troxell, Galen Glen Vineyard & Winery (Pennsylvania), Sean O’Keefe, Mari Vineyards (Michigan), and Frederick Frank, Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery (New York) will offer an in-depth look, and tastes, of this engaging variety (a dry white wine grape, widely planted in Austria).   Somms find Gruner to be versatile, lively, food friendly, and ageworthy.  It’s a wine which is capturing the attention of more and more grapegrowers and winemakers in America and Canada, and quickly gaining popularity among consumers throughout North America.

Château Phélan Ségur: Véronique Dausse, Managing Director for the famed Saint-Estèphe Château, Phélan Ségur, will articulate some of the main factors influencing how wines age in a barrel (new barrels vs. one-year-old barrels, type of grain, length of air seasoning, etc.).  Attendees will taste the result in the final blend. Get behind the mystery of soft tannins and subtle wood hints, a signature of their Grand Vin.

Empordà – The Undiscovered Jewel of Costa Brava: Dani Martinez, Sommelier at El Celler de Can Roca, and Paul Wagner, Founder, Balzac Communications & Marketing, will lead you on a discovery of this unspoiled region of Spain just one hour from Barcelona, where the Pyrenees Mountains meet the Mediterranean Sea. Prepare to taste fine, flavorsome, generous, thoughtful, serious, accessible and joyful wines brimming with authenticity and seasoned by the Tramuntana sky.

Treat Your Senses to Oregon’s Spectrum of Varieties: Jim Bernau, Founder & CEO, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Oregon will guide you through a tasting of three major wine regions of Oregon, from the cool Willamette Valley of the northwest, to the warm Walla Walla Valley AVA in the east, and the Rogue Valley in the south.

The Magic of the Mediterranean – Vins de Provence Dry Rosé Comprehensive Tasting: Hoke Harden, Partner, Taste & Compare Academy of Wines, Spirits and Food, will fascinate you with a wide range of iconic rosé wines from the acknowledged benchmark, the icon, the Gold Standard of this old but newly smoking-hot category. Sample the delights of an incredible array of Vins de Provence dry rosé wines selected to exhibit the characteristics of each AOP region.

Iberian Medley: Stuart Spencer, President of TAPAS (Tempranillo Advocates, Producers and Amigos Society) and Winemaker at St. Amant Winery, will lead participants through Iberian varieties from Portugal and Spain that are capturing the hearts and minds of west coast vintners.  This guided session will explore some of the lesser-known Iberian varietal wines such as Verdejo, Verdelho, Graciano, Albarino, Touriga, Bastardo and Souzão. These varieties are finding a natural home in California vineyards, and producing delicious wines. The session will discuss farming, winemaking, and lessons learned working with these Iberian varieties.

Styles of Italy: A Tasting of Innovation in Prosecco, Classic Sparkling Wine and Grappa. Domenico Scimone, Managing Director for Carpenè Malvolti, and Paul Wagner, Founder, Balzac Communications & Marketing, will take us on a sparkling tour.  By combining regional traditions with an innovative spirit, Carpenè Malvolti has influenced winemaking traditions and inspired a diversity of styles in Italy. Take a closer look at this evolution in a comparative tasting of three styles that have shaped Italian winemaking.

FLX and the World: The Finger Lakes region has been recognized internationally for its cool climate varietals. In this session, Laura Winter Falk, Certified Sommelier, Co-Owner/President of Experience! The Finger Lakes, will present six wines that represent the terroir and wine characteristics in Riesling and Pinot Noir from key wine regions around the world. Experience Rieslings representing the Finger Lakes, Mosel and Alsace, and Pinot Noirs representing the Finger Lakes, Côte Chalonnaise and Côte de Nuits. Learn about the structural, winemaking and flavor similarities, and the differences among the three regions.

Boroli BaroloAn In-depth Examination of the Nature of Terroir:  The Barolo zone of Piedmont offers a staggering variety of distinctly different growing environments within a small area, and nothing expresses this better than the region’s namesake wine.  In this session Alan Tardi, Wine Journalist & Author will present an extraordinary lineup from the Boroli winery: three single-vineyard Barolos from three of the area’s most prestigious crus—Villero, Cerequio, and the FIRST-EVER RELEASE of Brunella, a historic monopole—as well as a classic Barolo blending all three vineyards, and a Chardonnay also grown on the Brunella estate.

Attendees can also choose to partake in food and wine pairing sessions.  This year’s lineup will include:  A Farm-to-Table Pairing of Local PA Cheese and Regional PA Wines; A Taste of Empordà: Local Wines paired with Local Foods; Pizza Pairing Pinot Party; Champagne Collet and Duck 6 Ways by D’Artagnan; A Study of Pairing Caviar with Bubbles; and The Terroir of Truffles and Wine.

The conference also includes the Showcase of Wines on Friday night, a grand tasting at which you can connect with winemakers and vintners and taste a multitude of wines from around the world.  The event concludes with a Grand Banquet on Saturday night.

I envision the AWS growing exponentially over the next several decades.  There has never been a better time to join the AWS, meet other wine aficionados and professionals, take advantage of educational experiences that will enhance your wine knowledge, and gain a deeper appreciation of wines from all around the globe.  For more info about the American Wine Society, and details about becoming a member, visit the AWS website at


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