ASWA Awards

The ASWA annually recognizes leaders in the wine community for their various roles in building the wine industry. The awards we present are the Monteith Trophy, Wine Grape Productivity Tray, Jefferson Loving Cup, and Birchenall Award.

Become acquainted with our award winners – click here!

Monteith Trophy

ASWA Monteith Bowl trophy

The perpetual sterling silver Monteith Trophy is considered one of the most elegant and prestigious awards in the U.S. wine industry. Since 1980, it has been presented to individuals or organizations that have performed exceptional contributions to the development and sustainability of the American wine industry by actively providing leadership and motivation in addressing both legislative and regulatory issues that confront the industry, supporting innovative and technical research in both the fields of enology and viticulture, also encouraging wine and health related studies, as well as contributing to consumer public wine education and appreciation through the arts, literature and the public media.

The perpetual Monteith Wine Bowl Trophy, some 18” long and weighing 123 ounces of pure sterling silver, was created in 1980 by Tiffany & Co. of New York for the Vinifera Wine Growers Association. It represents one of the earliest forms of elegant silversmithing and today is considered to be one of the most prestigious honor awards in the U.S. wine industry.

As early as 1689, toward the end of the Stuart period in England, similar designs of the Monteith have been used in the service of wine. Mentioned by an antiquary, Anthony Wood, in 1683, it was described as “a vessel or bason notched at the brims to let drinking glasses hang there by the foot, so that the body or drinking parte might hang in the water to coole them. Such a bason was called a ‘Monteigh’ from a fantastical Scot called ‘Monsieur Monteigh,’ who at that time or a little before, wore the bottome of his cloake or coate so notched.”

In 1789, Thomas Jefferson brought back from his assignment in France as Minister, a seau crénelé or crenelated porcelain bowl similar to the Monteith used to cool wine glasses. The bowl’s design was that of a cornflower garland and is said to be the pattern used exclusively for the tableware of Louis XVI. Jefferson’s version of the Monteith is on display today in the dining room at Monticello.

Smaller individual glass versions were used by George Washington at Mount Vernon and are also on display in the Mansion’s dining room.

More recently, in 1955, Colonial Williamsburg commissioned the Wedgwood Company of England to make a duplicate copy of the Monteith to commemorate the Governor’s Palace.

Grape Productivity Tray

ASWA Wine Grape Productivity Tray

In 1984, the Wine Grape Productivity Tray was acquired from Sheffield Company. The tray, which measures 30 inches in length by 19-1/2 inches in width, is silver-plated and produced in the design of a classic champagne serving tray with a full border of bas-relief grape and vine patterns. The logo of the Vinifera Wine Growers Association, precursor to the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association, now incorporated into the ASWA’s logo, is engraved in the center of the tray.

Since 1984, the tray has been presented to an individual or organization that has made major contributions to the sustainable growth and economic viability of the American wine industry, including professional consulting, innovation, technical research and knowledge, as well as leadership and active support.

The tray has traveled and has been displayed across the United States, from Virginia to North Carolina and Alabama, up to Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York, and round-tripping to California.

Each of the now 30 distinguished recipients have had their individual or organizational name hand-engraved on the back of the tray.

Jefferson Loving Cup

The beautiful Best of Show sterling silver ASWA Jefferson Loving Cup stands atop a table in the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee Room, Rayburn House Office Building, awaiting presentation during the annual VWGA/ASWA Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition awards and tasting reception on Capitol Hill. Framed certificates of other competition winning wines and wineries to be presented are in the background.

The ASWA’s sterling silver Tiffany-produced Jefferson Loving Cup and Wine Trophy has been awarded since 1982 to the winning wine and winery of the annual Virginia Wine Competition, which was conducted by the Vinifera Wine Growers Association (VWGA), the precursor to the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association.

Each winning wine and winery of the VWGA/ASWA-conducted wine competition over the past 36 years has been hand-engraved on the cup itself or machine engraved on a plaque attached to the cup’s wooden base.

Birchenall Award

Paul Vigna accepts Birchenall award

The Birchenall Award is the newest ASWA recognition, given to members of the wine media for promoting knowledge of the East Coast Wine Industry. It is named for Michael Birchenall for his many contributions to coverage of the East Coast wine and food industries. The late Michael Birchenall founded the trade publication Foodservice Monthly in 2002, just as the restaurant scene was beginning to take off in the Mid-Atlantic region. “The local wine industry was growing at the same time, and Birchenall’s publication helped foster a sense of community among the various parts of the food and wine industries,” according to Dave McIntyre, noted wine columnist at The Washington Post.

ASWA’s Distinguished Award Winners

Monteith Winners

Fred Frank Honored with Perpetual Monteith Trophy 2022

Preserving a legacy and carrying on the family traditions of innovation and experimentation, Fred Frank is a force in New York winemaking. Since 1993, he has headed Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery in Hammondsport, building on his grandfather’s achievement in making the Finger Lakes a region known to produce world-class wines. The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association is proud to honor Mr. Frank with its Monteith Trophy 2023.

Fred gained valuable vineyard experience working alongside Konstantin Frank as a child, but his family insisted he receive formal training and real world experience before joining the family business. Upon graduating from Cornell, Mr. Frank worked in sales for Banfi Vintners before attending Geisenheim Reserch Institute for Viticulture and Enology in West Germany. When he returned he served as managing director at Banfi’s Old Brookville Vineyard.

Fred’s interest in German varietals did not wain with the years. He recently purchased 90 acres east of Seneca Lake (known as the banana belt) and is currently evaluating where the best sites and soils are for the cultivation of gruner veltliner and blaufrankishch, among others.

Mr. Frank’s deep involvement in enology education is expressed in his continuing support of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). He has served two terms on the Dean’s Advisory Council, is a member of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Leadership Society, and has served as a member of the advisory council for the New York State Agricultural Station. Fred was a district director of the CALS Alumni Association and in 2010 was named an Outstanding Alumni. In addition, Fred hosts an international intern program at the winery.

Sparkling wine from upstate New York is one of many projects championed by Fred Frank. He believes with a climate closer to Champagne’s than is California’s, sparkling wine from the Finger Lakes stand among the world’s finest. The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association concurs: Dr. Konstantin Frank Celebre NV and Brut 2017 have received the highest awards in the Association’s annual wine competitions. With seven offerings of fine sparklers, Fred Frank continues to grow the program.

Fred also introduced a value line called “Salmon Run” using grapes sourced from local farms around the Finger Lakes. The Georgian varieties Rkatsiteli and Saperavi have long been grown on the property, originally planted by Konstantin Frank himself. Fred is delighted that wine drinkers are growing in their appreciation of these grapes.

Fred Frank travels extensively educating consumers and wine professionals about the Finger Lakes region and East Coast grape varietals. He is a perennial speaker at the American Wine Society Conference.

As the third generation winemaker, Fred Frank has actively encouraged his daughter Meaghan to participate in the family business. He is delighted with her engagement and enthusiasm to carry on in her great-grandfather’s footsteps.

2021: Sharon Horton, Horton Vineyards, VA

2020: Ann Raffetto, Wagner Vineyards, New York

2019: Dr. Joseph A. Fiola, University of Maryland

2018: Nick Frey, Sonoma County Winegrape Commission et al

2017: Richard L. Thomas, founder, Santa Rosa Junior College viticulture program

2015: Luca Paschina, Winemaker and General Manager, Barboursville Vineyards, VA

2014: Dave McIntyre, Wine Columnist, The Washington Post

2013: Margrit Biever Mondavi, Vice President, Art and Culture, Robert Mondavi Winery, CA

2011: Robert P. “Bobby” Koch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wine Institute

2009: Karen Ross, President, California Association of Winegrape Growers, CA

2006 – 2008: Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and Jamestown 2007, America’s 400th Anniversary of the establishment of the Jamestown Colony in May of 1607

2005: Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, James Rees, Executive Director, VA

2004: Representatives George Radanovich and Mike Thompson, Co-Chairmen/Founders of the United States Congressional Wine Caucus, Washington, D.C.

2003: WineAmerica (American Vintners Association)

2002: Donniella Winchell, Executive Director, Ohio Wine Producers Association, OH

2001: American Wine Society, President, Pamela J. Davey

2000: Willy K. Frank, Dr. Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars, Ltd., NY

1999: Lynne Tuft, Artist and Author, The Grapes Grow Sweet

1998: Wines & Vines magazine, Philip E. Hiaring, Editor/Publisher

1997: Wine Enthusiast magazine, William R. Tisherman (Tish), Executive Editor, NY

1996: R. Curtis Ellison, M.D., Chief, Section of Preventative Medicine & Epidemiology, Boston University School of Medicine, MA

1995: Jim Trezise, President, New York Wine & Grape Foundation, NY

1994: K. Dun Gifford, President, Oldways Preservation & Exchange Trust, MA

1993: Ben Giliberti, Wine Writer, The Washington Post

1992: Professor Garth A. Cahoon, OH

1991: Dr. Professor Carl W. Haesler, distinguished viticultural scientist, PA

1990: Dr. David V. Peterson, Viticulturist, SW Missouri State University and Cornell University, NY

1989: Dr. Robert G. Rizza, KS

1988: Florida Agricultural Extension, FL

1987: Minnesota Grape Growers Association, MN

1986: Wine East Magazine, Hudson Cattell, Editor

1985: Long Island Grape Growers Association, NY

1984: The Georgia Grape Growers Association, GA

1983: Mississippi Food and Enology Laboratory, MI

1982: Tennessee Viticulture and Oenological Society, TN

1981: Mrs. Thomas F. Furness, Proprietor, Piedmont Vineyards, VA

1980: Dr. Konstantin Frank, NY

Wine Grape Productivity Tray Winners

Grape Productivity Award 2022 Presented to Al and Cheryl Kellert of Gray Ghost Vineyards

Located in Amissville, Virginia, on what was previously a horse farm, Al and Cheryl Kellert of Gray Ghost Vineyards planted their first vines in 1986.The Kellerts were early pioneers in the emerging Virginia wine scene that began in the late 1970’s. The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association is proud to acknowledge their work with the 2023 Wine Grape Productivity Award.
Appointed in the late 1990’s, Al Kellert served on the Virginia Winegrowers Advisory Board, a unit of the Department of Agriculture created to contract research to improve viticultural and enological practices in the Virginia wine industry, promote education about and appreciation for Virginia wine, and disseminate information on wine and viticultural topics.
Cheryl Kellert has served as Treasurer and Board Member of the Virginia Vineyards Association. The VVA is a nonprofit organization that brings together commercial grape growers, winemakers, researchers and educators to advance viticulture in Virginia. In 2011, Cheryl was presented a certificate “for her vast achievements, leadership in the community, and character and dedication as a Woman in  Business in the Commonwealth of Virginia” at the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond celebrating women in business.
The Kellerts have worked with Virginia Tech, the Commonwealth’s leading source of grapegrowing education, research, and information, on studies of the grape berry moth and weed control systems seeking alternatives to herbicides. They are happy to open their vineyards to VA Tech extension courses.
Cheryl and Al Kellert are frequent speakers at trade conferences such as Wineries Unlimited. As featured presenters at national events sponsored by the American Wine Society, they have criss-crossed the country – Winston-Salem, Cincinnati, Sacramento and Concord, North Carolina – providing insights into grape growing and marketing the product.
The Kellert family is known for its steadfast support of the local community. Second and third generations are dedicated to following Al and Cheryl’s example at both the vineyard and winery, and in their philanthropic endeavors.

2021: Dr. Joy Ting, Winemakers Research Exchange, VA

2020: Anna Katharine Mansfield, Cornell AgriTech, NY

2019: Deirdre Heekin, La Garagista Farm and Winery, Barnard, VT

2018: Peter Bell, Fox Run Vineyards, NY

2017: Thomas Cosentino, Garden State Winegrowers Association, NJ

2016: Jim Law, Linden Vineyards, VA

2015: North Carolina Winegrowers Association, NC

2014: no award given

2013: Curtis Coleburn, chief of the Virginia ABC, VA

2012: John Manfreda, head of TTB, Washington, DC

2011: Tom Payette, winemaking consultant, VA

2010: David McIntyre, The Washington Post wine columnist

2009: Lucie T. Morton, Viticulturist, VA

2008: Kevin Atticks, Executive Director, Maryland Wineries Association, MD

2007: Regency at Dominion Valley Country Club, Heritage Hunt & Stonewall Golf and
Country Clubs for their support of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competitions

2006: R. Fletcher Good IV, Yadkin Valley viticulture region, NC

2005: Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, VA

2004: Center for Wine & Cardiovascular Health, University 0f Alabama, Represented by Dr. Francois M. Booyse, Director

2003: Lansdowne Resort, Leesburg, VA, Mary Watson-Delauder, Resort Sommelier

2002: New York State Agricultural Experiment Station at Geneva, NY, Timothy Martinson, Representative

2001: Douglas P. Moorhead, Presque Isle Wine Cellars, PA

2000: Dr. G. Hamilton Mowbray, Viticulturist, Enologist, Wine Educator, MD

1999: Alan LeBlanc-Kinne, Winery Consulting Services, Inc., VA

1998: Dr. Tony K. Wolf, VPI, VA

1997: Wine East Magazine, Lancaster, PA

1996: Jacques A. Recht, Enologist and Virginia wine industry pioneer

1995: Frederick T. Dykes, Commissioner, Virginia ABC Board

1994: Women for WineSense, CA

1993: Dr. Bruce Zoecklein, VPI, VA

1992: Willard Scott, WMAL television

1991: Senator John W. Warner, Middleburg, VA

1990: Annette Ringwood, Virginia Wine Marketing Board, VA

1989: Peter Hatch, Monticello, VA

1988: Williamsburg Winery, Williamsburg, VA

1987: Hubert L. Tucker, Waterford, VA

1986: Dr. Jacques A. Recht, Oak Grove, VA

1985: Francis Sargent, Edinburg, VA

1984: Joachim 0. Hollerith, Madison, VA

Birchenall Award Winners

Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association Presents Birchenall Award 2022 to Richard Leahy

Event Manager of the Eastern Winery Expo, author of Beyond Jefferson’s Vines, member of the Circle of Wine Writers – Richard Leahy has been a distinctive presence on the eastern wine scene for close to forty years. The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association is pleased to name Mr. Leahy the Birchenall Award winner 2023.

An acknowledged expert on eastern wines, Richard was tasked with editing the Mid-Atlantic and Southern components for the ground-breaking Oxford Companion to the Wines of North America (2000). He also was tapped to be a regional editor for Kevin Zraly’s American Wine Guide. His own Beyond Jefferson’s Vines: The Evolution of Quality Wine in Virginia, an encyclopedic compilation of the wineries of Virginia, is now in its third edition.

Based in Charlottesville, the heart of Virginia wine country, Richard travels frequently to explore both established and emerging American wine regions. His extensive contacts in the industry positioned him perfectly to act as Event Manager of the Eastern Winery Expo, of which he was one of the founders.

2021: Carlo DeVito, publishing executive, NY

2020: Julia Coney, Washington, DC wine and travel writer, educator, and consultant.

2019: Nancy Bauer, Virginia Wine In My Pocket

2018: Lenn Thompson, The Cork Report, NY

2017: Paul Vigna, PA Media Group – Inaugural Award

Jefferson Loving Cup Winners

2022 Jefferson Loving Cup Winner
CrossKeys Blanc de Noir 2019

“When we first laid eyes on the beautiful rolling hills we now call CrossKeys Vineyards, it was nothing more than a thick forest. After crossing the fence which divided the land from the road, we saw the vision of the vineyard come to life.” This aspiration on the winery’s website saw its fulfillment in the 2022 Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition as CrossKeys Blanc de Noir 2019 took Best of Show from a field of 409 wines produced along the US East Coast.   

CrossKeys Vineyards and Estate Blanc de Noir 2019 boasts an aroma of red fruit with a hint of almond. Sweet peach and apple flavors are enhanced by lively acidity and balanced with creaminess developed through barrel aging.

In an area not yet associated with fine sparkling wines, CrossKeys crafted this year’s winner from vines almost 20 years old.  “Blanc de Noir” in French means “white from black.” As in Champagne, CrossKeys extracted white juice from 100% Pinot Noir grapes which was fermented, then aged, in barrel for 6-8 months before bottling.

The secondary fermentation which created the fine mousse (bubbles) followed the traditional champagne method as well. “At bottling, sugar and fresh yeast were added and the bottles quickly sealed so the wine ferments a second time, in bottle,” according to a winery spokesperson.

In the 18 months that followed, the riddling process caused the solids to fall out and the wine developed its sparkle. The spent yeast released a creamy flavor and enhanced the mouthfeel. The solids were then expelled through disgourgement and the final sugar level was completed  through CrossKeys’ propriatery liqueur d’expédition, a mixture of wine and sugar that determines how sweet the finished wine will be, in this case 1% residual sugar. In a French sparkler, this would be called “off-dry.”

CrossKeys Vineyards and Estate is a repeat winner in the ASWA Wine Competition. The winery’s Fiore Rose´ took home Best of Show in 2018 in a field of over 400 entries. CrossKeys is owned by the Bakhtiar family, and is located in Mount Crawford, VA, in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. “The two gold crossed keys are an old symbol of hospitality, excellence, and a place of prestige. The keys embody our goal of producing exquisite wines, delicious food, fabulous events, but most of all they are a daily reminder that we are here to provide an excellent experience for every guest that walks through our doors,” a spokesperson for the family relates.

2021: Fox Run Vineyards 2019 Reserve Riesling, NY

2020: No competition was held

2019: Dr. Konstantin Frank Celebre nv, NY

2018: CrossKeys Fiore 2017 Rosé, VA

2017: Narmada Winery 2013 Cabernet Franc Reserve, VA

2015: Dr. Konstantin Frank 2014 Semi-dry Riesling, NY

2014: Chateau Frank 2008 Blanc de Noirs, NY

2013: Boordy Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc

2012: Chateau Frank 2006 Blanc de Noirs, NY

2011: Martha Clara Vineyards 2010 Estate Reserve Riesling, NY

2010: Rosemont of Virginia 2007 Meritage, VA

2009: Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2008 Semi-Dry Riesling, NY

2008: Newport Vineyards & Winery 2007 Riesling, RI

2007: Fox Meadow Winery 2005 Cabernet Franc, VA

2006: Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards 2002 Reserve Merlot, NY                                

2005: Rockbridge Vineyards 2002 Heritage, VA