AWS 2019 Conference – Florida
By: Ellen Landis
The American Wine Society, the largest organization in the USA for wine consumers and professionals (with 8,000 members nationwide), holds its 2019 annual conference on picturesque St. Pete Beach in sunny Florida from October 31 through Nov 2.
The 2019 conference is already sold out, but now is a great time to feel the positive vibe and set your sights on next year’s annual conference. Here are snapshots summarizing some of the sessions being presented this year:
Paul Wagner, Founder Balzac Communications & Marketing, will be presenting The Heart of the Left Bank seminar. Taste a selection of Grand Cru wines from Saint-Estephe, Saint-Julien, Pauillac and Haut-Medoc from a variety of vintages between 2011 and 2016, and learn what makes them unique.
Tantalizing Tempranillos from the Great Northwest session, moderated by Ellen Landis, Wine Journalist, Certified Sommelier, International Wine Judge. Featuring southern Oregon Winemakers/Vintners including Earl and Hilda Jones, owners of Abacela Winery; Stephen and Gloria Reustle, winemaker and co-owners of Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards; Betty Tamm and Geoff Faraghan, co-owners of Triple Oak Vineyards; and Eric Weisinger, winemaker and general manager of Weisinger Family Winery. Learn more about why this grape is extremely well suited to the Northwest and taste award-winning tempranillos from these skillful producers. Wines crafted here deserve to be recognized among high quality tempranillo-based wines from the Ribera del Duero and Rioja regions of tempranillo’s native country of Spain, and other regions around the world.
Janie Brooks Heuck, Managing Director of Brooks Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley will present her session Peace. Bread. Land. Wine. Janie will discuss how these elements of life fit into the making of a successful, small family-owned winery. Participants will taste six different wines from Brooks Winery while hearing Janie’s captivating story. She will also present a second session, Dry Riesling from Around the World.
Sonoma: Discover the Diversity, will be presented by Deborah Parker Wong, DWSET and Global Wine Editor, SOMM Journal. Enjoy learning more about diverse Sonoma County (where more than 425 wineries call home). Taste six wines, including sparkling, chardonnay, rosé, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, and zinfandel, that illustrate the beauty and diversity of wines from Sonoma County.
Christine Clair, Winery Director of Willamette Valley Vineyards will present her heartwarming session Solidarity, Great Wines that Define the Oregon Spirit. Participants will learn how Rogue Valley grape growers faced a challenging situation, and how Oregon wineries joined together to save the crop. This story of generosity and caring spirits, along with the palate pleasing tasting of Oregon Solidarity wines, is sure to touch the hearts of the attendees.
Champagne! Pamela Wittmann, Millissime PR & Marketing Services will be presenting her session about Champagne, and who doesn’t enjoy a fine glass of bubbles? Taste through five different Champagnes and gain history from the perspective of the oldest cooperative in the region, Collet-Cogevi (established in 1921).
Stephen Reustle, winemaker/co-owner of Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards will present Oregon’s Umpqua Valley . . . Better Wines that their European Counterparts? In his session, Stephen will discuss the impressive diversity of the Umpqua Valley, and provide a side by side tasting of multiple grapes, comparing award-winning examples from the Umpqua Valley to high-scoring European counterparts. Participants will taste and judge for themselves New World vs. Old World wines.
Will Costello, Master Sommelier and Ambassador for Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estates. Will’s presentation, A Primary Source – Bien Nacido Vineyard: From Farm to Bottle, will take you on a virtual tour through what is often called the Ferrari of vineyards along the Central Coast of California.
Max Kast, Master Sommelier and Regional Sales Manager, Broadbent Selections, Inc. will be presenting Iconic Family wineries of the Southern Hemisphere. Taste and gain more insight into wines and vines from top wine-producing regions in the Southern Hemisphere.
Willamette Valley Vineyards Winery Director Christine Clair will be back on stage to present Modern Day Pioneering in the Oregon Wine Industry. Here, Christine will focus on how the Oregon wine industry continues to grow and thrive, and discuss many of the impressive regions within the state. Participants will taste wines from regions including Walla Walla Valley, the Rocks District of Milton-Freewater, the Rogue Valley, the Umpqua Valley and the Willamette Valley.
These represent just a few of the many sessions that participants can choose to attend. And, there are wine tastings served with delicious meals scheduled throughout the conference for further education and enjoyment.
Each year this conference offers members the opportunity to increase their knowledge about wines from around the globe, converse with vintners and wine specialists from near and far, meet with friends and colleagues, and develop new connections.
Joining the AWS organization is enlightening for wine aficionados and professionals alike; it’s fun, educational, and stimulating. No matter how much one knows about wine, there is always more to learn! Visit the AWS website at www.americanwinesociety.org to gain further details about the organization including how to join, chapter locations, how to start a chapter, and the benefits of becoming a member.