ASWA Wine Competition

2023 ASWA Wine Competition winners announced! SEE THE MEDAL WINNERS HERE!


Md. winery wins regional competition with grape that continues to net a wider audience

By Paul Vigna pvigna@pennlive.com That Bordeleau Vineyards and Winery won Best of Show in the 18th annual Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association (ASWA) Competition speaks to the nonstop work of co-owner and winemaker Tom Shelton. – more –


To help identify the best of the best, ASWA holds an annual wine competition, the largest in the nation focused exclusively on the wines of the East Coast. The competition covers the 17 states from Maine to Florida that border the Atlantic including Vermont, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Held in late summer, our professional competition judges hail from all parts of the country and many facets of the wine trade. In 2022, a panel of nineteen judges from across the country scored 409 wines made in the eastern US.

We host an awards ceremony on Capitol Hill every year after the completion of the competition under the auspices of the Congressional Wine Caucus. The perpetual Jefferson Loving Cup, designed by Tiffany in sterling silver, is engraved with the winning winery’s name and presented to the Best of Show entrant.

ASWA competition

Winning wines are then showcased at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento, CA, the leading wine industry convention typically drawing 15,000 attendees. The wines generally receive coverage on several west coast radio programs while ASWA representatives are in California, and a seminar and tasting at UC Davis is a regular part of our program. Opportunities for increased exposure continue throughout the year.

Scroll down for a list of all medalists!


2023 Competition Best of Show Bordeleau Petit Verdot Lot 3

Bordeleau Vineyards and Winery PETIT VERDOT LOT 3 has taken Best of Show in the 18th Annual Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association Competition held on August 12 and 13, 2023. This luscious wine outshone 455 of the East Coast’s best bottlings to take the competition’s top honor.

“Every wine I bottle has to be better than the one I just sold,” states Bordeleau co-owner/winemaker Thomas R. Shelton. He’s set a pretty high bar for himself and he backs up this guiding principle with a lot of hard work and pride in his craft.

Just south of the Delaware border in Maryland, Bordeleau is located on Wicomico Creek and is between the Cheasapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Climate conditions provided by these bodies of water mimic those of Bordeaux, ancestral home of the petit verdot grape. The 1100 acre farm produces corn, soy and wheat, but the vineyard – nearest Shelton’s home – is his baby. Petit verdot vines were planted in 2007/08 and all the fruit in the winning wine came from the estate. Most unusual is that Tom is crafting a non-vintage blend. “The weather in California is pretty reliable,” he says, “But here in Maryland you can have a great vintage, a less-than-great vintage, and maybe even a poor vintage every now and then.” By combining vintages, he “takes out the swings” to create a consistent, high quality wine.

As the name suggests, the winning wine, Bordeleau PETIT VERDOT LOT 3, is his third bottling of the single varietal. The petit verdot vineyard at Bordeleau is carefully tended and is situated on a gentle slope. The VSP rows are north-south facing. Petit verdot is late-ripening, and in fact is the last variety to be harvested, as late as October. LOT THREE consists of fruit from 2016, 2017, and some from 2019.

In the winery, Tom destems and sorts the fruit and lets it chill for a day or two. Fermentation takes place over 10-12 days. He punches down – does not pump over – four times a day. After pressing, the wine settles in stainless steel and malolactic fermentation takes about 21 days. The wine then ages in French and American oak, carefully balanced between new and used barrels to coax the best flavors from the grapes. To create the final blend, Tom tastes through each individual barrel to determine the best lots. The lesser wines go into his sweet wine program.

What flavors is he looking for in his wine? “As I can’t predict each vintage, I look to produce ripe, sound fruit and let the grapes determine the flavor profile,” he says. Bordeleau PETIT VERDOT LOT 3 aged for a total of fifty-four months. Good color and outstanding phenolics define the wine. A gentle, floral aroma is complemented by flavors of chocolate, blackberries, and dark cherries with a touch of smoke and leather on the palate. The extended aging contributes firm, but not harsh, tannin.


Best of Show Gallery (under construction)

Competition Medalists

2023 Competition Medalists
2022 Competition Medalists

2021 Competition Medalists

No Competition Was Held 2020

2019 Competition Medalists

2018 Competition Medalists

2017 Competition Medalists

Winning Wines

Atlantic Seaboard Wines You Need To Know!

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner: 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon by Ashton Creek Vineyard, VA – Notoriously hard to ripen in Virginia’s climate, Alan Thibault of Ashton Creek Winery wisely sourced this 100% cabernet sauvignon from select vineyards around the Commonwealth. Aged in French oak for 14 months, the resulting wine shows flavorful black currant and cherry on the palate, enhanced by a mineral note. Interestingly, the RS is 0.6% for a little more richness.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner: 2021 Estate Chardonnay by Black Birch Vineyard, MA – East of Amherst and north of Northampton, Ian Modestow and Michelle Kersbergen carefully tend 12 acres of vines to produce hand-crafted, small batch lots of outstanding quality. With two Best of Category winners in ASWA’s 2022 competition, this barely 10 year old winery is one to take note of and seek out. This is a chardonnay of surprising depth and nuance.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner: 2021 Estate Grüner Veltliner by Black Birch Vineyard, MA –  Black Birch owners Ian Modestow and Michelle Kersbergen focus on small lot, estate grown wines and this strategy has worked exceedingly well for them, earning two Best of Category in ASWA’s 2022 competition. This rare grüner veltliner positively sings with lemon lime flavors.

2022 ASWA Gold Medal Winner: 2019 Cabernet Franc Dry Bench Reserve by Boordy Vineyards, MD – Boordy is one of the original wineries in the eastern United States. Philip and Jocelyn Wagner licensed Boordy in 1945 and grew on the strength of their popular, off dry wines. Rob Deford acquired the property in 1980 and has devoted a wealth of resources to craft the world class offerings from Boordy today. South Mountain Vineyards in the Catoctin AVA is the source for this 100% cabernet franc.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner: 2021 Sugah by Burntshirt Vineyards, NC – This 10 year old winery is privileged to have vineyards that straddle the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains at an elevation of 3400 ft. Sugah 2021 is lushly sweet, with RS of over 4%, a beautiful 100% vidal blanc replete with tropical fruit flavors such as lychee, pineapple and a hint of rose.

2022 ASWA Best in Category/Gold Medal Winner: 2020 Petit Verdot by Carriage House Wineworks, VA – With grapes from the Windhorn Vineyard in Loudoun County, owner/winemaker Mike Fritze chose to bin ferment his 2020 petit verdot, then aged it in new and used American oak for a full 18 months. The resulting wine features an aroma of violets and full flavors of black fruits and an appropriate note of tar that linger on the finish.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner: 2019 Merlot by Chaddsford Winery, PA – Historic Hopewell Vineyards, a 20-year-old site in Chester County, grew the merlot in this Best of Category wine from Chaddsford, one of Pennsylvania’s oldest wineries. Aged in French and Hungarian oak, the wine bears a strong resemblance to the wines of Bordeaux. Hints of graphite and leather unfold in the blackberry jam flavors of this medium-bodied wine. Very food friendly.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner: 2019 Chardonnay Reserve by Chateau MerrillAnne, VA – Returning Gold Medalists Kenny and Emily White founded their winery on property that has been farmed by the White family for more than 50 years. The vineyard was planted in 2010, and has produced outstanding wines since. This Chardonnay Reserve is rich and creamy, was barrel fermented, aged in French oak, and underwent full malolactic fermentation.

2022 ASWA Gold Medal Winner: 2020 Petit Verdot by Cross Keys Vineyards & Estate, VA – One hundred percent petit verdot from the Shenandoah AVA, Cross Keys scores once again. A frequent medal winner in ASWA competitions, Cross Keys brings forth this full-bodied wine scented with violet. Dried fig and leather flavor enhanced with notes of hazelnut and smoke show deep purple color and a velvety mouthfeel.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner: NV Runway Red by Deer Run Winery, NY – This year celebrating its 20th Anniversary, Deer Run Winery, in concert with Cornell University, was among the first to plant the new hybrids noiret and corot noir, which comprise the majority of this blend. Drier in style, the wine teases with notes reminiscent of syrah provided by the noiret, balanced with the light berry flavor of corot noir. 10% chambourcin and 10% marechel foch complete the blend. Raspberry notes dominate on the nose, with peppery, jammy flavors on the palate.

2022 ASWA Gold Medal Winner: 2019 Norton by DuCard Vineyards, VA – DuCard wines are made exclusively from grapes grown in the estate’s three vineyards in Madison County, VA. The owners strive to maintain a sense of “place” or terroir, in their offerings. This norton is deep in color owing to its high anthocyanin content, with matching flavors of blueberry, cherry and raspberry on the palate. Interestingly, Norton and Cynthiana were recently declared the same grape, based on genetic research of the vine.

2022 ASWA Gold Medal Winner: 2019 Meritage by Effingham Manor Winery, VA – Predominently merlot and cabernet franc, with a touch of petit verdot and cabernet sauvignon sourced from around the Commonwealth, the wine was aged in Virginia oak. Cherry, plum and pepper aromas combine with spice notes, plum and pepper on the palate. The estate dates to 1767, originally held by the Alexander family of England, and was worked as a plantation growing tobacco, apples, corn and raising cattle til Emancipation.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Gewurztraminer: 2021 Gewurztraminer by Elk Run Vineyards, MD – To the best of our knowledge, Elk Run is the only winery in Maryland growing gewurztraminer. Though sensitive to both drought and mildew, the grape prefers clay soils. This wine was sourced at Elk Run’s Cold Friday vineyard, and shows an enchanting bouquet of tropical fruits and roses, confirmed on the palate. Alsatian in style, delicate and complex with a hint of sweetness backed by exhuberant spice.

2022 ASWA Gold Medal Winner: 2019 Rock Ridge by Fifty-Third Winery & Vineyards, VA – Full-bodied and smooth, this wine is a blend of 66% petit verdot, 18.5% cabernet franc, and 15.5% merlot grown in Virginia’s Monticello AVA. As is well-known, petit verdot, normally a blending grape, does really well in this climate, producing deeply colored, intensely flavored wine with firm tannin and intriguing notes of leather and violet.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Viognier: 2021 Viognier by Fifty-Third Winery & Vineyards, VA  – From the Monticello AVA, this outstanding wine is a blend of 85% viognier and 15% chardonel. Winemaker Chelsey Blevins’ goal is to “artistically craft the essence of my home, Virginia, in the form of wine. I want to capture Virginia’s rolling hills covered in clover, the mineral driven granite mountain sides, the soft summer rain and transform them into a tangible form for everyone to enjoy.”

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio: 2021 Pinot Grigio by Fox Meadow Winery, VA – Estate grown pinot grigio from Linden in northern Virginia. The wine is crisp and lush with white flower aromas and ripe peach flavor. Combining hints of grapefruit and star fruit overlaid with slate and a stoney minerality, the wine is quite complex and not to be underestimated. The founders’ son Bob Mortland continues as vineyard manager, and consultant Tom Payette continues as winemaker, under new owners Amanda and Whiticar Darvill.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Other White Hybrid: 2021 Diamond by Grace Tyler Estate Winery, NY – The Diamond grape is a New York specialty. Harvested at a low brix, this wine shows a fine balance of sweetness and acidity, with a strong grape flavor on the finish. Grace Tyler Estate aims to be a leader in production of marquette, diamond and brianna wines, and going by this example, they are well positioned to succeed.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Port-Styled Wines: NV Port by Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, NY – Rich with a mouthfeel of molasses, flavors of plum, dark cherry and chocolate, and a hint of vanilla on the nose, Hazlitt 1852 crafts this wine as is traditionally done in Portugal. Tawny port style, aged five years in American and French oak, fermented to 18.2% alcohol, all Finger Lakes grapes (an undisclosed proprietary secret!).

2022 ASWA Gold Medal Winner: NV Red Cat Dark by Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, NY – From the winery: “Partially fill a glass with ice. Add equal parts of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Red Cat Dark and Ginger Ale. Add 2-3 generous dashes of bitters and a squeeze of lime juice. Garnish with an orange slice.” This is called the Red Cat Dark MOON DANCE. Concord grape, sweetest of the sweets! Let’s go howl at the moon!

2022 Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Sparkling Hybrid: 2021 Bubbly Candeo by Lakewood Vineyards, Watkins Glen, NY – Those of us of a certain time and place will tell you Watkins Glen was BETTER than Woodstock. If only we could have imbibed this fun and frothy sparkler from Lakewood Vineyards but, in 1973, the winery was yet to be founded. Made of 100% Cayuga grapes (a hybrid first released commercially in 1973 – quelle coincidence!) this bubbly is crisp and lightly sweet. As the Stamp family advises, “When champagne is too much & beer not enough, like today.”

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Riesling: 2020 Riesling by Lakewood Vineyards Inc., NY – From growing grapes for Welch’s 70 years ago to producing award-winning wines today, the Stamp family’s commitment to their vineyards is unquestionable. Their first vintage was in 1988. On the west side of Seneca lake, the vineyards slope down facing the morning sun. Crisp and fruity, this riesling hits the right note between sweet and dry. Fruity and floral notes are balanced by minerality and spice.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Cabernet Franc:  2019 Cabernet Franc Reserve by Narmada Winery, VA – Eighteen months in French and American oak lend a spiciness to this full-bodied, deeply textured wine. Dark fruit combines with earthy notes in Narmada’s cabernet franc which benefits from a judicious addition of petit verdot, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. As the winery approaches its 15th anniversary, it has become known for an array of award-winning wines.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Bordeaux-Style Red Blends: 2019 Yash-Vir by Narmada Winery, VA Making use of all five major Bordeaux grapes – 35.16% Merlot, 26.4% Petit Verdot, 23.6% Cabernet Franc, 11.79%  Cabernet Sauvignon, 3.05% Malbec – owner/winemaker Sudha Patil once again creates an award-winning blend. Smooth and rich, this wine (named for her two grandsons, Yash and Vir) is full-bodied and flavorful. All Virginia-grown, reconfirming that the wines of Virginia can compete with any and all international bottlings.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Blush/Rose Hybrid 2020 Cape Rose’ by Nassau Valley Vineyards, DE – An intriguing blend of cayuga and chambourcin, this light and fruity rose is the perfect accompaniment to shellfish, apropos to this Delaware winery’s proximity to the sea. Nassau Valley is actually Delaware’s first farm winery, based in large part to owner Peggy Raley-Ward’s efforts to change the state’s winemaking regulations. Farm wineries became legal here only in 1991.

2022 ASWA Gold Medal Winner 2021 Celebration by Paradise Hills Vineyard, CT On rolling hills and former hay fields, the Ruggieros planted their first vineyard in 1997 and sold their harvest to other Connecticut wineries until 2011. Paradise Hills was built on the brothers’ lifelong dream to recreate their Italian family’s love of wine. Celebration is a sparkling blend of 50/50 chardonnay and traminette, dry in style and, as its name denotes, is the perfect choice to celebrate with.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Norton 2020 Norton by Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery, VA Potomac Point, less than an hour outside Washington, DC, prides itself on its Tuscan feel. Yet this European-style estate has dipped into that American classic, the Norton grape. This superlative example shows a dark plum color, is rich and fruity with striking notes of cherry. Spice notes appear in the full-bodied finish.

2022 ASWA Gold Medal Winner 2021 Peaches & Mango by Sleepy Cat Urban Winery, PA Owners Carrie and Mark Gerescher produce a full portfolio of red, white, and fruit wines and continue to experiment with many more grapes and fruits. Starting out as home winemakers, they opened their winery in 2016 and have received gold medals for this, as well as their 2021 Razz at the ASWA Wine Competition. 50/50 blend of peaches and mangoes.

2022 ASWA Gold Medal Winner 2021 Razz by Sleepy Cat Urban Winery, PA – Did You Know? Razz is a variation of the poker card game 7 Card Stud. Sleepy Cat Winery owner Mark Gerescher has been known to play a hand or two. Razz is also Mark’s Gold Medal-winning wine. 2021 Razz is a 100% raspberry wine, very sweet, very juicy, very delicious! Fruit was “imported” from New Jersey, for those who need to know.

2022 ASWA Gold Medal Winner 2019 Reserve Meritage by Thanksgiving Farm, MD –  Twenty miles east of Washington, DC, Thanksgiving Farm Winery was the first commercial winery in Anne Arundel County, licensed in 2006. This Bordeaux-blend was crafted with estate grapes: 47% merlot, 27% petit verdot, 26% cabernet franc. Aged in French oak, the wine is rich yet mellow, and finely balanced with a long, lingering finish.

2022 ASWA Gold Medal Winner 2021 Delaney by The Winery at Bull Run, VA – Named for owner Jon Hickox’ daughter, this vidal blanc/traminette/seyval blanc blend is a perfect expression of a crisp, lightly sweet wine. White flower aromas lead into stone fruit and citrus flavors completed by a lemony, creamy finish. The winery, outside Manassas, also owns vineyards in further-west Rappahannock County, from which these grapes were sourced.

2022 ASWA Gold Medal Winner 2021 Pinot Gris by Thirsty Owl Wine Co., NY – Pinot gris thrives in cool climates and does well in the Finger Lakes region of New York. This 100% pinot gris from Thirsty Owl Winery – located between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes – is light and dry, showing pineapple, pear, and melon notes, enhanced by a floral bouquet. The winery is celebrating its 20th anniversary with founder Ted Cupp’s son Jon at the helm.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Sweet Blush NV Alexandria Bay Rose’ by Thousand Islands Winery, NY – Located along the St. Lawrence River where New York State and Canada meet, this juicy, fruit-forward rose has a nose redolent of strawberry and peach with perfectly ripe strawberry flavors on the palate. The sweetness comes from the Delaware grape, with just a hint of Isabella, both US hybrids. The winery produces a full portfolio of wines, ranging from dry to dessert wines, as well as a mead and a port-styled offering.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner White Interspecific Blends

2021 Covert Wineworks Cuvee Blanc by Vint Hill Craft Winery, VA – Sweetly floral, Covert Wineworks Cuvee Blanc blends Traminette, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Petit Manseng with a touch of Vidal Blanc and Muscat. The Covert line features WWII Vargas Girls on the labels for a touch of whimsy from this Fauquier County winery in Virginia that served as a “listening post” during the War.

2022 ASWA Gold Medal Winner 2021 Walking Tall by Wind Vineyards, VA – It’s not every day you run into a wine named after a Monster Truck. (see https://www.facebook.com/WalkingTallMonsterTruck/ ). The wine in question is a semi-sweet blend with the Brianna grape in the forefront. The flavor highlights bright tropical fruit with apple-y overtones. From a 700-acre farm in Tappahannock, VA, the Wind family’s playful sense of humor shines here.

2022 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Sweet White Vinifera & I/S 2021 Honeysuckle by Woodbine Winery, VA – Owners Reggie and Jenny Young planted their first vines in southern Virginia in 2018, after having owned the farm for over two decades. As the children grew up and moved on, the Youngs determined the time was right for Reggie’s longstanding dream of making wine. 2021 Honeysuckle is a blend of 60% Chardonel and 40% Petit Manseng, giving the perfect amount of fruit and sweetness for quaffing on a warm afternoon.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Sauvignon Blanc 2020 by Newport Vineyards, RI – The microclimate at Newport Vineyards is influenced by both the Gulf Stream and Narragansett Bay which provide thermal heat and protect against frost. The long, cool growing season is especially apparent in this crisp, clean Sauvignon Blanc. Herbal and citrus notes make this wine a perfect companion to oysters, scallops, shrimp, ham, veal and cheeses.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

 Seyval Blanc 2019 by Romano Winery & Vineyard, MD – In Maryland, 2019 was particularly dry and sunny, beneficial to the seyval blanc hybrid.  With a flavor profile generally considered to lie somewhere between sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, Romano has chosen to vinify this wine in a semi-dry style, highlighting dried apricot and honey with notes of melon. A nice companion to  light, spicier dishes of chicken or shrimp and very good with Havarti, Edam, or Swiss cheeses.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Notte Di Amore 2019 by Paradise Hills Vineyard, CT – The Ruggiero family grew grapes for 15 years before opening their own winery. Notte di Amore is their interpretation of Italian Prosecco. Light, bubbly, slightly sweet with apple and fresh pear notes, the wine can be enjoyed on its own as an aperitivo, and is especially good with crispy calamari.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Brut 2017 by Dr. Konstantin Frank, NY – Konstantin Frank medals once again! Widely acknowledged as the man who changed the course of New York’s wine industry, Dr. Frank’s winery produced this 50% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir, and 5% Pinot Meunier blend from estate vineyards. Cellar aged for three years, a creamy mouthfeel from the fine mousse leads into baked apple flavors that mingle with lemon curd and biscuit notes.

2021 BEST OF SHOW/GOLD MEDAL WINNER

Riesling 2019 by Fox Run Reserve, NY – Formerly a dairy farm, in 1984 the first vines at Fox Run were planted on glacial soils off Seneca Lake, NY. Winemaker Peter Bell and Vineyard Manager John Kasier agreed that the 2019 vintage was so outstanding that a Reserve Riesling was bottled, the first Reserve since 2011. Produced from a single lot, this wine is lush and creamy, with intense varietal flavor. A tight, energetic Riesling with exceptional length. 

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Cassis by Clinton Vineyards, NY – The 100-acre Clinton Vineyards, located in the mid-Hudson Valley, was founded in 1976. Cassis, a black current dessert wine, is traditionally used to create a kir, or kir royale, cocktail and this remarkable version would make a marvelous one. The winery also features an intriguing recipe for Duck au Cassis on their website: https://clintonvineyards.com/blogs/wine-pairings-recipes/duck-au-cassis 

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Dry Rosé by Newport Vineyards, RI – A rosé made from Cabernet Franc, showing red fruit, melon and a hint of rose petal. George Chelf finds the cool climate to the north of Newport brings out the best in this varietal. Co-owner Paul Nunes credits a combination of good soil, favorable climate and well-managed vines. The estate boasts over 50 acres of vineyards on its 100 acres of preserved farmland. Pix: Maizy, the 5th generation on the farm, trellising new vines using her great grandfather’s air compressor.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Ameritage 2019 by Pearmund Cellars, VA – As the 47th farm winery established in Virginia in 2002, Pearmund Cellars is credited with being one of the first Virginia wineries to craft a Bordeaux blend using the five French authorized grapes. A consistent winner, Pearmund Ameritage 2019 is the latest release. Full-bodied, with a black fruit nose, smooth and supple with notes of cocoa and vanilla.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Cabernet Franc 2017 by Jefferson Vineyards, VA – Jefferson Cabernet Franc is grown in raybun clay and raybun clay loam soil with the resulting wine aged in oak 9 months. Medium tannin with a bouquet of cedar and cherry, showing raspberry, blackberry and hints of vanilla and pepper on the palate. Winemaker Christopher Ritzcaven assists in harvest.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 by Fox Meadow Winery VA – Hand-crafted small lots of wine have characterized Fox Meadow since its founding almost 20 years ago. Lush and mouth-filling, this 84% cab/16% merlot wine was aged 15 months in French and American Oak. Dark fruit flavor – think plum, blueberry, blackberry – is touched with anise and violet. Nicely structured, with a long, lingering finish.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Chambourcin by Bordeleau Winery, VA – Located off the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Chambourcin was one of the original three varieties planted at Bordeleau in 1999. A consistent medal winner, the wine shows an outstanding melding of both fruit and earthy flavors. Supple, with a lingering chocolate finish.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

M-32 2019 by Robin Hill Farm and Vineyards, MD – No, not Mad Dog, not even Mogen David. The MD here stands for Maryland. This family-owned farm dates back to 1955 and has evolved with the times, becoming a winery in 2017. The 4th generation currently helps run the place and has crafted this  delicious dry chardonnel highlighted by notes of citrus, lemon, pear and white flower.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Reserve Chardonnay 2019 by Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery, NY – Owner Yancey Migliore-Stanforth generally spends her time in the tasting room while Michael Migliore and Brad Martz craft the wine. This Reserve Chardonnay was barrel fermented from estate grown grapes in the Hudson Valley, then aged in Hungarian oak for approximately 9 months. Rich, creamy, delicious.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Northern Spy 2019 by Putney Mountain Winery and Spirits, VT – Putney Mountain Winery was locavore before the term was coined. Dating to 1998, owners Charles and Kate Dodge determined to produce wines from Vermont’s best fruit. The Northern Spy apple is winter-hardy and naturally vigorous, and this resulting sparkling wine is semi-dry, bright, and lively. Pix: Northern Spy christens the USS Vermont!

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Tupelo Traditional 2020 by Wandering Bard Meadery, SC – Tupelo is the king of honey, and Wandering Bard’s Tupelo Traditional Mead could rightfully be called the king of meads. This rare type of honey is known for a mild, sweet and fruity taste with an aroma of flowers and cinnamon, and the mead brewed by owner Brian Daughhetee highlights these qualities to their fullest.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Merlot 2019 by Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery, VA – Northern Virginia had a great growing season in 2019, rain early in the year and hot and dry through summer. Potomac Point’s Merlot shows intense aromatics balanced with good acidity. Cherry and raspberry flavors are highlighted with herbal tones and a hint of mint. Oak aging layers in complex spice and vanilla.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Other Red Vinifera Blends

Cleve 2019 by Philip Carter Winery of Virginia, VA – Two high tannin, high acid grapes, petit verdot and tannat, are masterfully blended in this unusual Virgina bottling. Ripe black fruits show fresh and elegant flavor, tannins are firm and solid. When Mr. Carter-Strother says he is of the Founding Family of American wine, we now have proof! Doesn’t look a day over 250!…

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Petit Verdot 2017 by Well Hung Vineyard, VA – Well Hung Vineyard is a negotiant brand with relationships with wine growers across the Commonwealth. This vintage shows appealing blackberry, cherry and plum fruits with notes of leather and smoke. Pair with boneless braised short rib over garlic mashed potatoes. 

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Port-Styled Wines

Black Pearl 2019 by Woody Lodge Winery, PA – From chocolate wine to sweet tea ciders to wine ice cream, Woody Lodge speaks to the sweet tooth in all of us. This port-styled blackberry wine is no exception: Pour over vanilla ice cream or try with cheesecake for dessert. Pair with pecans, almonds, and hazelnuts for a more savory treat.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner Red Interspecific Blends

Vladimir by Katya Vineyards, FL – The Sokol family, of eastern European heritage, works with hybrid grapes suited to the hot Florida climate. The vineyards are rich in limestone and draw water from an underground aquifer. Vladimir was aged in premium French, Hungarian and American oak barriques which lend a vanilla-smoke quality to this full bodied red replete with dark fruits and berries. The finish is long and lingering.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Peach Hard Cider by Deep Roots Hard Cider, PA – Deep Roots produces high quality apple cider from locally grown apples. For this refreshing quaff, peaches are combined with Northern Spy and Idared apple varieties for a winning mix of tart and sweet flavors. Try with a crisp garden salad, baked or grilled salmon or simply on its own.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Moscato 2020 by Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery, PA – A fragrant moscato, bursting with white flower aromas and juicy peach, apricot and pear flavors, comes from the Lake Erie area in Pennsylvania. Linda and Steve Weaver, daughter and son-in-law of founders Betty and Joe Carroll, manage the 65 acre estate, and have recently been joined by their son Robbie at this award winning family-run winery.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Riesling Reserve 2020 by Dr. Konstantin Frank, NY – Unoaked, but aged on the lees for 5 months, this late-harvest style riesling has 43/gL and a low alc of 11.3%. Crafted from 100% estate-grown Seneca Lake fruit, where the climate is a few degrees warmer than other upstate areas, the wine is medium-sweet and bursting with rich papaya, cantaloupe and honey notes. It is a perfect enhancement to flavorful cheeses and spicy pan Asian cuisine.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Paxxito 2017 by Barboursville Vineyards, VA – Slow-fermented with native yeast, this blend of Moscato Ottonel and Vidal is a delightful dessert wine made in traditional passito style. After harvest, the grapes are left to dry naturally and to raisinate, causing the flavors and sugars to concentrate to a multi-layered richness. You’ll find tropical notes as well as pear, honey and almond in this lush quaff. Paired with Panna Cotta al Profumo di Lavanda. 

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Viognier 2020 by Two Twisted Posts Winery, VA – Two Twisted Posts hit the ground running with their first vintage winning the coveted Virginia Governor’s Cup. This viognier, enhanced with a bit of chardonnay, is done in a rich, creamy style having spent considerable time in barrel. Delicate peach and apricot aromas lead in to white fruit and floral notes. Husband and wife team Brad and Theresa Robertson, he in the vineyard, she in the cellar, stamp their appealing style onto this outstanding wine.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Nittany Mountain White 2020 by Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery, PA – This family-owned winery profits from higher elevation vineyards in the Pennsylvania mountains with good air flow, and a southern exposure that contributes to ideal ripening of the fruit. This estate grown wine, a blend of French-American hybrid grapes, is smooth and fruity, very food friendly and easily quaffable on its own.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Fusion 2020 by Waltz Vineyards, PA – From the Lancaster AVA in Pennsylvania, Waltz Vineyards blends estate-grown semillon, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc in this semi-dry white wine. With a climate similar to northern Italy and central France, these white varietals enjoy a long growing season resulting in optimum phenolic development. Crisp and fruity, with a hint of minerality on the finish.

2021 ASWA Best of Category/Gold Medal Winner

Cherry Supershtious 2020 by Sleepy Cat Urban Winery, PA – Those of us of a certain age remember a song, fondly: “Sweet cherry wine, so very fine.” Well, here it is! 100% cherry fruit from New York state,  with an rs of 9.5%, this low alcohol quaff can be the start of a quite enjoyable evening. (No, it’s not by Stevie Wonder. Comment if you know!)

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Blush/Rose Hybrid/NA

Fiore 2018 by Cross Keys Vineyards, VA -The latest vintage of last’s years Best of Show winner. Heavier on the chambourcin this year (at 60% Chambourcin, 40% Cabernet Franc) the wine shows clean, crisp flavors and a nice balance of fruit and acidity.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Blush/Rose Vinifera

Stiegel Rose’ 2018 by Waltz Vineyards, PA – This 75% Cab Sauv/25% Cab Franc blend from Lancaster County, PA, was whole-cluster pressed and shows notes of watermelon highlighted by hints of strawberry and hibiscus. Off dry and with nice acidity on the palate.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Bordeaux-Style Red Blends  

Sky Island Red Wine 2015 by Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery, NY – Owner Michael Migliore holds a master’s degree in organic chemistry at SUNY, New Paltz and works closely with Cornell Cooperative Extension testing new grape varieties. This nicely-aging classic bordeaux blend consists of 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot, and 5% Malbec.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc 2016 by New Kent Winery, VA – Since 2014, the winery has been operated by Joe and Jo Anna Dombroski and their family. This Cabernet Franc was aged over 24 months in American oak and shows notes of plum and black cherry with hints toasted oak and caramel.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 by 21 Brix Winery, NY – From 21 Brix Winery’s Olde Chautaugua Farms at Lake Erie, this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is rich and smooth, aged in French and American oak for 14 months giving distinct notes of cocoa, cinnamon, and hints of vanilla. Under vine since the 1950’s, the 250 acre farm is helmed by the family’s 3rd generation.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Chambourcin

Chambourcin 2017 by William Heritage Winery, NJ – Formerly a site of peach and apple orchards, owners Bill and Penni Heritage began cultivating grapes in 1999 in the heart of New Jersey’s Outer Coastal Plain AVA. Heritage Chambourcin, according to the winery, can be thought of as the “East Coast Red Zinfandel.” Winemaker Sean Comninos practices saignee as well as extended maceration to extract full color and flavor.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Chardonnay

Chardonnay 2017 by Cross Keys Vineyards & Estate, VA – Vinified using stainless steel, neutral oak and judicious use of new oak, this wine exhibits clean apple flavor with undertones of peach and flint. 100% estate-grown, 100% Chardonnay from the Shenandoah Valley.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Fortified Wines

Genesis 2017 by Fifty-Third Winery & Vineyards, VA – Genesis is a fortified wine made with 100% norton grapes from the winery’s White Walnut Vineyard. Fifty-Third Winery has 103 acres with 22 acres planted to different varietals. The original “green” tasting room officially opened in 2011 and holds a LEED Platinum certification.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Sweet White Hybrid/NA (RS > 4 % )

Moscato 2018 by Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery, PA – Founded by Joe Carroll in 1990, the winery is now under the direction of the second generation, daughter and son-in-law Linda and Steve Weaver. Produced from AVA Finger Lakes grapes their 2018 Moscato is a lush, sweet wine with aromas of honeysuckle and orange blossom, and flavors of apricots, peaches, and pears.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Viognier

Viognier 2018 by Jefferson Vineyards, VA – Adjacent to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate, Jefferson Vineyards heritage goes back to our country’s founding. This Viognier exhibits aromas of honeysuckle, lychee, and orange zest with rich apricot and peach flavors.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner White Vinifera Blends

Cool White 2017 by Cool Ridge Vineyard, MD – Gerhard Glocker’s 15 acre vineyard lies on a steep, south-facing slope that terraces down to Cool Hollow and Antietam Creek in the Cumberland Valley. The fertile, well-drained limestone soils yield nine different vinifera varietals. This winner is composed of equal amounts of pinot gris, viognier, riesling, and traminette, vinified dry for fresh fruit flavor and hints of white flower.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Gewurztraminer

Dry Gewurztraminer 2017 by Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars, NY – Dry Gewurztraminer by Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars, NY. From the Finger Lakes AVA, this estate-bottled 100% gewurztraminer was fermented in stainless steel to maintain lush aromas of blossom, lychee and spice.

A hint of ginger and spice on the palate make this the perfect accompaniment to Asian and Mexican cuisine or even your holiday turkey.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Other Red Vinifera

2017 Calliope by Muse Vineyards, VA. The owners of Muse Vineyards find their “inspiration and our devotion to time-honored farming and wine production techniques…[in the] the legendary domaine vineyards of France and Italy.”

This Rhone-style blend of 65% grenache and 35% mourvedre from the Shenandoah Valley AVA is rich and deep with notes of black fruit and spice.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Petit Manseng

Petit Manseng 2018 by Wisdom Oak Winery, VA – Petit Manseng is all the rage in Virginia. This example from Jason and Laura Lavallee’s Wisdom Oak Winery shows why. 100% petit manseng from their Monticello Orchard House Vineyard, the wine aged for 7 months in stainless steel, and shows aromas of pear, honeysuckle and light florals. Delicate, delicious and thirst-quenching.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Port-Styled Wines

Black Pearl 2018 by Woody Lodge Winery, PA – Produced by Woody Lodge in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains using New York fruit.  100% blackberry juice fortified to port strength. Rich and flavorful, the winery’s first port-style wine is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Seyval / Chardonel

Chardonel Reserve 2017 by Narmada Winery, VA – Winemaker/owner Sudha Patil is a specialist in the chardonel grape. This estate-grown 100% chardonel shows creamy white fruits and citrus flavors and a richness achieved through aging on lees. The winery recommends pairing with soft-shell crabs, chicken curry, or foie gras.  

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Other Red Vinifera Varietals 

Sister winery to Pearmund Cellars and Vint Hill Craft Winery, Tannat 2017 by Effingham Manor Winery, VA is 100% tannat from select vineyards in Virginia. Spice notes marry with black raspberry, plum and currant flavors in this enticingly full-flavored wine.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Other White Vinifera Varietals

Vermentino Reserve 2018 by Barboursville Vineyards, VA – Barboursville’s extraordinary love of Virginia terroir combines with their Italian heritage in this 100% vermentino bottling.  A classic with seafood, the wine is luscious and minerally at the same time brought about by extended contact with the lees and stainless steel aging.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Cider

Ladies’ Man nv by Fabbioli Cellars, VA – Fruity and subtly sweet with enticing light pink highlights, Ladies’ Man Cider is made with 87% Honeycrisp Apples and 13% Fabbioli’s signature red raspberry wine. Chaptalized to 3% residual sugar, the alcohol content remains a low 7% appropriate to the cider category.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Other Red Hybrid/NA Varietals

Holiday Heaven 2017 by Holemans LLC, VA – Steven Holemans grew up on the farm in Durham County, NC, that is now his vineyard. “There was a uniqueness of the muscadine grapes as the skin of the grape was thicker and appeared to be non-edible. However, the juice of the muscadine was much sweeter than a normal grape. Once you bite into the muscadine grape, there is a burst of sweet juice that makes you long for more.”

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Petit Verdot

Petit Verdot 2016 by Casanel Vineyards, VA – Winemaker Katie DeSouza aged this 100% petit verdot for 18 month in French oak. Flavors of black plum, blueberry, cassis, violets, and dark chocolate shine in this estate-grown bottling from the Middleburg AVA.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Riesling

Riesling 2018 by Woody Lodge Winery, PA – This six-year-old winery nestled in the Allegheny Mountains of Central Pennsylvania highlights the quality that can be brought forth from this area. Their 100% Riesling is  semi-sweet with hints of pear, peach, and apricot.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Sparkling Hybrid/NA Wines

Estate Petillant Naturel 2018 by Glendale Ridge Vineyard, MA – A fascinating blend of 80% vidal blanc, 10% aromella, and 10% traminette was estate-grown at Glendale Ridge;s Nonotuck and West Block vineyards. Vinified dry and allowed to sparkle naturally, the wine is light and floral with peach and pear notes. This marks the very first time a Massachusetts wine has taken Best of Category in the Atlantic Seaboard competition.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Syrah/Shiraz

Leaf Stone 2016 by Black Ankle Vineyards, MD – The self-identified “control freaks” at Black Ankle produced this 100% syrah from a sloping vineyard that faces predominately west and south. Aged 18 months in French oak, earthy, smoky aromas lead to dark fruits, chocolate and tobacco on the palate with a finish that exquisitely balances tannin and acidity.

2019 ASWA Best of Category Winner Vidal Blanc

Legacy 2017 by Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards, MD – A dry version of vidal blanc, with crisp tropical notes of honeysuckle, pineapple and mango. Crafted from estate-grown grapes on this family farm that dates back to 1955. New to winemaking, the family transitioned to vineyards in 2012 and opened their winery doors in 2014.

2018 Best of Show

CrossKeys Vineyard Fiore 2017, Virginia

This rosé wine is composed of 70% cabernet franc and 30% chambourcin, and was made with estate-grown Shenandoah Valley AVA fruit. It shows a rich fruitiness balanced with savory herbal notes. Grapes for the wine were whole-cluster pressed and fermented in stainless steel.

The cabernet franc was harvested early specifically for use in this rosé, and contributes to the more complex herbal and citrus flavors, according to the winery. Suggested retail price is $19.50. The winery recommends pairing it with soft cheeses, rich seafood dishes, or herb-rubbed poultry to show off the complexity of the wine.

CrossKeys Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery located on 125 acres in the heart of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Its first vines were planted in 2001 and now include 32 acres of vines with twelve grape varieties.  

“Over the years, we’ve brought home a lot of gold and double gold medals, but this is the big one we have been waiting for,” said Babak Bakhtiar, CrossKeys’ director of marketing. “This has been a great year for our wines at awards competitions and this Best of Show is proof that Head Winemaker Stephan Heyns and Assistant Winemaker Steve Monson are undoubtedly crafting the finest wines in Virginia.”

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Other Red Hybrid/Native American Varietals

Shelburne Vineyard Marquette 2016, Vermont

One of the most successful cold-climate grapes, Marquette was developed in Minnesota and thrives in Vermont. Owner Ken Albert became inspired to grow grapes after visiting vineyards even further to the north in Canada.

Shelburne’s Marquette is rich, robust and spicy, benefitting from lees contact, and is produced using sustainable practices at this LEED-designed winery.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Chambourcin

Port of Leonardtown Winery Chambourcin Reserve 2014, Maryland

This chambourcin is made of fruit from the 12-vineyard Port of Leonardtown Winery co-op in southern Maryland. Winemaker Lauren Zimmerman highlights the herbal and spice notes of the grape, achieved by aging in French and American oak for 18 months. 15% cabernet franc lends a peppery, cassis touch.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Blush/Rose Vinifera

Shelton Vineyards 259 Dry Rose 2017, North Carolina

From the Yadkin Valley AVA in North Carolina, winemaker Ethan Brown makes use of a gravity flow system to ensure gentle handling of the juice. Vinified bone dry and made with equal parts petit verdot, tannat and merlot, this rose is medium-bodied and crisp with cherry, strawberry and juicy watermelon flavors. Note: owners Charlie and Ed Shelton were instrumental in creating the Yadkin Valley AVA, North Carolina’s first, in 2003.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Other White Hybrid/Native American Varietal

Shelburne Vineyard LaCrescent 2017, Vermont

Notably cold hardy – to -36F – the LaCrescent grape comes into its own in Vermont. With flavors that may remind you of a moscato, it’s a relatively new grape (2002) created by the University of Minnesota. Shelburne’s expression is semi-dry and delicious, with a floral bouquet, juicy peach/apricot flavors and crisp acidity.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Sauvignon Blanc

Stinson Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Virginia

From the Monticello AVA, a combination of estate fruit and fruit from Mt. Juliet Vineyards which is across the road from the winery, this flinty, mineral-laden Sauvignon Blanc is balanced with melon and opulent white flower flavors. Fermented sur lie in concrete (see the “egg”!) and stainless steel. Clean, crisp and lingering.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER: Other Red Vinifera Blend

Philip Carter Winery of Virginia Cleve 2015, Virginia

Cleve Hall was an historic estate owned by the Carter family, and this tribute wine comprises all the history and fine quality the Carter family has embraced since their first wine award in London in 1762. Cleve 2015 is a 50/50 blend of petit verdot and tannat. Rustic yet velvety, with subtle oak married with jammy notes. The winery recommends decanting.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Fortified Wine

Deer Run Winery Dockside NV, New York

On Conesus Lake in NY’s Finger Lakes AVA, Deer Run produces this yummy dessert wine, aged on bourbon barrel staves. It’s made with 60% frontenac and 40% noiret grapes. Frontenac gives a cherry/chocolate note and noiret contributes light spice. Smoky with dark cherry notes and a warm woody essence, the wine was fortified to 15.5%.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Sweet White Interspecific Blend

Rockbridge Vineyard V d’Or 2016, Virginia

The technology of refrigeration becomes art as practiced by Rockbridge Vineyards in the production of this “ice wine.” From Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, this blend of vidal blanc, riesling, and vignoles with a touch of traminette yields a lush wine redolent of honey and oranges.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Port-Styled Wine

Port of Leonardtown Winery Port 2014, Maryland

Yes, Port of Leonardtown Port has captured the Best of Category for port-style wine. Made with chambourcin grapes grown in St. Mary’s and Calvert counties by this winemaking co-op located just off the Chesapeake Bay in Southern MD. The wine is robust, and rich with dark fruit flavor, fortified to 20% alcohol. Pair with dark chocolate or spice cake.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Sweet Fruit Wine

Tomasello Winery Cranberry NV, New Jersey

 Tomasello Winery in Hammonton, NJ, dates back to the repeal of Prohibition and in fact holds winery license #68 in the whole country. In the 1970’s they were among the first to experiment with French American hybrid grapes. Justifiably proud of their portfolio of fruit wines, Charles Tomasello Jr, 3rd generation owner, says, “We select fruit from specific growers whose passion in fruit growing matches our passion in wine making.” With cranberries from Massachusetts, Tomasello Cranberry Wine is a 100% natural wine showing intense color, lightly sweet and balanced with characteristic tart acidity.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Vidal Blanc

Sharrott Winery Vidal Blanc 2017, New Jersey

Midway between Philadelphia and Atlantic City, Sharrott produced this 100% Vidal Blanc in the Outer Coastal Plain AVA of New Jersey. Founded a decade ago by Larry Sharrott, the property was formerly an apple orchard and now is a completely solar-powered winery. This wine highlights the familiar citrus/pineapple fruitiness of the vidal grape with lovely aromas and a light body.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio

Fox Meadow Winery Pinot Grigio 2017, Virginia

From the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in VA, estate-grown fruit is steel fermented and aged to highlight a balance of acidity with minerality and citrus notes. Owner Dan Mortland says, “In two words, elegant and savory,” and is particularly proud to have won the Best of Category in both 2018 and in 2017, for Fox Meadow Pinot Gris.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Cabernet Franc

Pearmund Cellars Cabernet Franc 2016, Virginia

From Toll Gate Vineyard in Rappahannock County, (unfortunately for sale…) this Cab Franc is Pearmund’s second Best of Category winner this year. Excellent with gouda cheese or olive tapenade, with a characteristic hint of bell pepper combining with cocoa, cherry and black raspberry flavors. Sweet tannins round out this lush wine.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Gewurztraminer

Newport Vineyards Gewurztraminer 2017, Rhode Island

Classic rose petal, ginger and orange zest overflow in this delightful wine. Soil, climate and well-managed vines fuse to perfection in this Rhode Island offering. Winemaker George Chelf’s philosophy is minimal intervention and to preserve the grape’s natural character: the long, cool growing season off the Narragansett Bay yields outstanding fruit.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Red Hybrid/Native American Blend

Deer Run Winery Runway Red NV, New York

From the Finger Lakes AVA in NY, this blend features corot noir and noiret with a touch of Marechal Foch and chambourcin. Corot noir typically shows deep red color and attractive berry and cherry fruit aromas while noiret contributes notes of green and black pepper, with raspberry and mint aromas, and a fine tannin structure. Semi-dry and smooth.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Petit Verdot

Narmada Winery Petit Verdot 2016, Virginia

Narmada Winery produced last year’s Best of Show, and this Petit Verdot continues that winning tradition. Rich with coffee aromas, full-bodied and showing an intriguing blend of chocolate and savory bacon flavors underscored with bright orange zest, this is a blend of 78% petit verdot, 10% merlot, 7% tannat and 5% cab franc. From Rappahannock County, VA.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Chardonnay

Gray Ghost Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay 2016, Virginia

From Rappahannock County, VA, fermented in new French oak and softened by malo, the resulting mouthfeel of this chardonnay is rich and elegant with notes of pear and fig and a hint of vanilla. Winemaking team/owners Al and Cheryl Kellert love the buttery, toasty oak finish.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Sweet Red Hybrid/Native American

21 Brix Winery Ella’s Red, NV, New York

From Lake Erie, NY. Seven-year-old 21 Brix Winery had two Best of Category winners this year. Unabashedly sweet and jammy, Ella’s Red is 100% concord, and the perfect pairing for Cherry Chocolate Cookies.  

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Albarino

Boordy Vineyards Landmark Albarino 2017, Maryland

From South Mountain Vineyard in Maryland, the Spanish grape Albarino is still a rarity here, but enjoying great success. At this vineyard, rocky, well-drained soils and an extended growing season combine with great airflow that minimizes frost. The wine is cool fermented and bottled early to capture fresh peach and flower aromas and crisp acidity.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Petit Manseng

Fifty-Third Winery & Vineyards Petit Manseng 2016, Virginia

Cooper Vineyards, purchased in 2015 by David and Susan Drillock, is transitioning to the name Fifty-Third Winery. Fitting, as it was the 53rd farm winery licensed in VA. Graham Bell is the winemaker, and this expression of the current darling of VA grapes is medium-bodied with notes of pineapple, pear and honey.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Sweet Blush Wine

Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery Mountain Blush 2017, Pennsylvania

The white zin craze may be over, but this blend of steuben touched with 5% seyval blanc will bring memories of the best of that popular rose style. From the heart of central Pennsylvania in the Lake Erie ava (which covers parts of Ohio and New York as well as PA), strawberry and raspberry flavors enhance fruit, mild cheeses and rich desserts.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Riesling

Chateau LaFayette Reneau Semi-Dry Riesling 2017, New York

The owners of Glenora and Knapp purchased LaFayette Reneau a few years back but maintain the separate character of each. LaFayette Reneau is in the Finger Lakes ava off Seneca Lake in New York which was formed by glaciers and rarely freezes. Shale soil and rolling slopes make this perfect riesling territory. Mineral notes combine with honeysuckle and apple in this low-alc, 2.8 rs wine.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Red Interspecific Blends

Knob Hall Winery N39 2015, Maryland

“Latitude without attitude” defines this wine, named for the 39th degree north of the equator, and “Smooth jazz,” according to winemaker/co-owner Mary Beth Seibert. 70% chambourcin, 30% cab franc made with estate-grown grapes in Cumberland Valley, Maryland. Aged 18-24 months in American and French oak, blackberry and plum tones are touched with a spicy wood note.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Merlot

Jones von Drehle Vineyards & Winery Merlot 2014, North Carolina

 Thirty acres in the Yadkin Valley in North Carolina, purchased a decade ago by the Jones and von Drehle families, produced this Best of Category winner. Five clones of merlot are planted in the coolest section of the vineyard ensuring a long growing season to maximize flavor. The winery recommends a classic boeuf bourguignon with this plummy, spicy wine.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Bordeaux Style Red Blend

Pearmund Cellars Ameritage Reserve 2016, Virginia

This wine is a blend of equal amounts cab sauv, petit verdot and malbec. Three days of cold-soaking the grapes followed by 2 weeks maceration lend the wine its rich dark fruit, spice, vanilla, and cocoa notes. Aged 10 months separately, then married and aged an additional 4 months, all American oak.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER White Hybrid/Native American Blend

Rockbridge Vineyard Tuscarora White 2016, Virginia

Winemaker Shep Rouse discovered his love of wine in Germany back in the 1970’s and built his winery in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in 1988. Using traditional small batch methods with minimal processing has earned this vidal blanc/traminette blend accolades. Semi-dry and stainless fermented.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Cabernet Sauvignon

Gray Ghost Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Virginia

Approaching its 25th anniversary, Gray Ghost was a pioneer of the modern Virginia wine trade. Their Reserve Cab, 100% estate grown varietal, and is only produced in exceptional years. New French oak, 3 yrs aging, and malo contribute to vibrant plum, blackberry and mocha notes, lush tannins, and lingering finish. Ageworthy, 20+ years according to the winery!

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Sparkling Vinifera Wine

21 Brix Winery Brutella 2016, New York

Alright wine snobs! Get over yourselves! 21 Brix Winery’s Brutella 2016 from Lake Erie, NY, is named for their pink elephant mascot Ella. It is delicious! 100% chardonnay, finished dry, by winemaker Kris Kane.  

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER White Vinifera Blend

The Barns at Hamilton Station Cascina 2017, Virginia

The Barns at Hamilton Station is a family-owned winery on a former dairy farm. Virginia luminary Michael Shaps is the winemaker. Cascina is a versatile blend of equal parts sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, viognier and petit manseng, with grassy, herbal notes and a tropical finish.

2018 ASWA CATEGORY WINNER Viognier

Barboursville Vineyards Viognier Reserve 2017, Virginia

For the third year in a row, legendary Barboursville Vineyard of Virginia captured the Best of Category award for its Viognier. Contributing to its perpetual success, the wine is 100% varietal, 100% stainless fermented and aged, stays on the lees for 9-12 months, and receives additional bottle aging before being released.

Meet Our Judges

2023 Competition Judges
Melissa Bartlett has a passion for wine, which led her to seek to a career at Virginia’s

favorite winery, Pearmund Cellars. She worked as one of the winery managers and as the
winery sommelier. She is a long-term member of the AWS and served for three years as
Chapter Chair for the John Marshall chapter in Virginia. Melissa is a Certified Judge through
the AWS Wine Judge Certification Program and a Certified Sommelier through the
International Wine Guild. Melissa is a free-lance wine consultant and educator.

Joann Degaglia CSW, CS, CWJ is a Certified Specialist of Wine and a member of the Society of Wine Educators as well as a Certified Advanced Sommelier. She has earned both an American and Italian Wine Specialist Degree from the North American Sommelier Association with honors.

JoAnn is a popular Wine Educator and Associate Instructor at the Westchester Wine School in New York and the North American Sommelier Association in Los Angeles. Since receiving her Wine Judge Certification with Merit from the American Wine Society, she has judged at numerous competitions including the Finger Lakes International, Indy International, Texas Lone Star International, Texas International, Sommeliers Choice Competition, The Buyers Network in San Francisco, the Big E, California State Fair, Bottle Shock, Atlanta Governors Cup, Atlantic Seaboard and many others.

She is an International Wine Judge OIV (10125) having joined the panel of esteemed Judges at the Frankfurt International Trophy. She is the American Wine Society’s Certified Wine Judge Program coordinator/instructor and works part time at two of the Hudson Valley’s great wine destinations, Brotherhood-America’s Oldest Winery and Wine Spectator’s award-winning Relais and Chateaux’s Glenmere Mansion in Chester, New York as a Sommelier and Director of Staff Ed and Training.

Steve DiFrancesco is a winemaking professional with 44 harvests under his belt. He recently retired, after 26 years, as winemaker for Glenora Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes of NY. He helped the winery scale up from a yearly output of 17,000 cases to 41,000 cases, plus an additional 20,000 cases of custom work. Steve judged in his first international wine competition in 1988. He has since judged in numerous regional, national, and international competitions in New York, Virginia, California, and Ohio.

As a winemaker, Steve’s wines have won over 450 gold medals in regional, national, and international competitions. He has made over 60 professional presentations in the Northeast and Midwest. In 2022, Steve was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Eastern Winery Exposition. He is a board member for the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association. Steve is now a winemaking consultant, and has many clients in the Northeast.

Shortly after Rege Duralia joining the American Wine Society in 1992, he became intrigued with wine. That association opened a door to appreciation of wine through education, amateur winemaking and enrolling in Introduction to Winemaking, UC-Davis, a one semester long distance learning course. His judging career began in 2002 on Hilton Head Island for the Annual Wine Festival Judging. Joining the Tasters Guild, also in 2002, provided judging events that brought exposure to many wines from different growing and wine making regions.

Visiting wine growing regions of the world – California, Oregon, Washington, North Carolina, Virginia, New York Finger Lakes, Ohio, Michigan, Northern Georgia, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Hungary, Croatia, Canada, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand and Australia – expanded his horizon of wine. These visits enabled him to understand different grape growing and wine making methods as well as to learn firsthand about wine varietal characteristics and stylistic differences influenced by terroir and different winemaking techniques in the various growing regions.

Rege became a Certified Wine Judge in 2007 by successfully completing a three year course offered by the American Wine Society and was recertified in 2012 and 2018. He is also a wine consultant for the Lake Hickory Country Club, Hickory, NC. Invitations to judge have come from the AWS Commercial and Amateur competition, the Tasters Guild International Wine Judging, the South Carolina State Fair, Atlantic Seaboard Competition, Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Dixie Classic, Wines of the South, New York State Fair, North Carolina State Fair, and Winemaker International Magazine Amateur Wine Competition.

What makes wine interesting is that there are many variable factors influencing its production so that every opening of a bottle is a new adventure. It is the perfect beverage for a meal any time of the day.

Jane Duralia been a member of the American Wine Society since 1992, gradually learning about the many grape varietals. She became fascinated with wine structure variability and how various wine making techniques and practices affect the various result in a specific varietal characteristic and how it presents in the bottle.

Becoming more involved with AWS opened educational doors and she was thirsty for wine knowledge from all parts of the world. She passed the introductory Sommelier course and then followed up with the three year American Wine Society wine certified Judge course, after that she was hooked; learning to evaluate wines enhanced her appreciation of wines in a much broader sense and increased her grape varietal knowledge even more. She became an AWS Certified Wine Judge in 2006 and recertified in 2012 and 2018.

Jane enjoy judging various competitions around the country, annually; AWS Commercial and Amateur, Tasters’ Guild International, INDY International, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association, New York State Fair, NC State Fair, Wines of the South, and Mid-Atlantic Region Competition to name a few; Recently adding Wine Maker International Amateur Wine Competition in 2020-2023. Jane is now a Wine consultant for the Lake Hickory Country Club, Hickory NC. In 2017-2023 she provided wine descriptors and food pairing for the Double Gold recipients at the Tasters’ Guild Competition 2018.

Travelling extensively, arranging tasting and educational opportunities wherever she visited, opened her wine horizons and enhanced her abilities to pair food and wine. The uniqueness of dining as you travel abroad creates an appreciation for wine and food pairing and a hunger for more knowledge. Her travels include: Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Greece, South Africa, Croatia, France, and Hungary. Traveling to Canada (Niagara on the Peninsula, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island)) Washington State (Yakima Valley, Seattle), Oregon (Umpqua and Willamette Valley, and Hood River), California ( from Amador County down through Temecula and tasting rooms all along the way), New York – Finger Lakes, Virginia (Mid Northern), North Carolina (Yakin Valley and beyond) and the Northern Georgia Mountains. In early 2020, Jane spent a month traveling and tasting through New Zealand and Australia.

Carole Hackett, CWJ, CS has a background in healthcare, and her undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry has been valuable in her wine studies. Her interest in wine has led her to further her education. Carole is a certified wine judge with the American Wine Society. She stays active working with students from the Wine Judge Certification Program. Carole has completed Level 2 of WSET program with Merit. Carole serves as the Regional Vice President for Eastern Kentucky for the American Wine Society. In 2023, Carole received the Certified Sommelier from the National Wine School.

Carole enjoys judging amateur and commercial competitions. Her nine years of judging experience have taken her through much of the USA. She enjoys judging county fairs, regional festival events, state fair amateur competitions and international competitions

Sharyn Kervyn (de Volkaersbeke)’s professional career has been devoted to the wine industry, learning and sharing her knowledge with fellow enthusiasts. She is a diploma graduate with honors (dipWSET) through The Wine and Spirit Education Trust, a Certified Specialist of Wine with Society of Wine Educators, Tastevin level member with the Dionysian Wine Society International and Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers.

As a member of the American Wine Society, she served as National Tasting Project Chair (2016-2021), Regional Vice President (2017-2019) and Co-chairs an AWS Chapter she founded. She is also a Certified Wine Judge through AWS. As a professional international Wine Judge since 2010, she has been judging annually for Amateur, Commercial and International competitions around the world. She has expanded operations for multi-unit chains, drafted marketing plans and created elaborate events for Hollywood Elite.

She opened the Getty Center Museum in Los Angeles in 1997 as their Catering Director, developing the standards of service still in use today. As a wine director, she trained front of house staff and her wine lists consistently earned “Best of” Wine Spectator Awards (2 glasses) at The Capital Grille locations where she worked for more than a decade. Sharyn currently serves on the Wine Education Committee for AWS, where she wrote and developed WineSmarts II. She teaches wine courses at area colleges and founded KdV Wine Services in 2021.

Linda King is a Certified International Wine Judge, Winemaker, Winery Consultant, and Educator. Linda is a retired winemaker, last working for RagApple Lassie Vineyards in NC and has been a winemaker for over 40 years. Linda does consulting in the areas of winemaking, wine appreciation and wine education.

A lifetime member of the American Wine Society, Linda has served on that Board, ran the AWS Wine Judge Certification Program, and was voted Most Outstanding Member in 1993. In addition, Linda was co-founder of the Pittsburgh, PA chapter of the AWS, which went on to become one of the largest, eventually breaking down into several chapters. Upon moving to NC, Linda, along with her husband, Tom, became founders of the Wine Lovers Club of Winston-Salem, another AWS Chapter.

Annemarie Morse Annemarie has a Master’s Degree in Oenology from Cornell University and has taught wine courses at a University level. She is the Director of Education for the American Wine Society and has been certified as a wine judge through their program since 2012. She developed and taught classes and sessions at the National Wine Conferences. She is a Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers. She is a published freelance wine & food writer and blogger.

Annemarie is a trained descriptive panelist for the sensory evaluation of artisan cheese and alcoholic beverages at Cornell University. Annemarie hosts and plans wine tours and cruises of wine regions through her company, Wine By Annemarie, LLC as well as providing consulting services to restaurants and classes for staff, private events and the community. She has a passion for food and wine, exploring different regions of the world and sharing these experiences with others.

Ron Natalie is an AWS Certified Wine Judge. He also holds WSET Level 3 certification and is
certified as an aficionado of wine by Robert Parker and Kevin Zraly. He is an AWS life member and chapter chair. Ron developed his love of wine after running a marathon in Bordeaux. He lives in North Carolina with his equally wine-crazed wife.

Kevin Ostrowski is a former high school chemistry, physics, and math teacher and a retired QA/QC nuclear utility executive. He is currently the American Wine Society’s Western Pennsylvania Regional Ambassador, Chapter Chair of the AWS Beaver County, PA, chapter, and member of the AWS Education Committee. An AWS Certified Wine Judge, Kevin is a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators, holds a Wine and Spirits Education Trust Level 3 Award in Wine and Spirits (with Merit), has a Wine Scholar Guild Master Level Champagne Certificate, has completed level 1 Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, and is PLCB RAMP certified. He has enjoyed the privilege of judging many local and regional wine competitions.

An Instructor for AWS Wine Judge Certification Training, he is also a wine instructor for Butler County Community College in Butler, PA and has taught the Super Tasters Class for the American Wine Society. A home wine maker, he has won several medals from both AWS and WineMaker magazine. Kevin is a member of The Wine Century Club, GuildSomm, the Society of Wine Educators, the Wine Scholar Guild, and the Pennsylvania Wine Society. Kevin Resides in Beaver, PA.

Nancy Slick is a long-term member of the American Wine Society and supporter of the
organization. She is a graduate of the Wine Judge Training Program and a Certified Wine Judge.
Nancy also teaches in the program and has developed a specialty in ciders and meads in addition to wine. Additionally, she has presented many educational sessions on all aspects of wine and has judged in many competitions, both amateur and commercial. Nancy has worked many years in wine retail and is currently working in food service and enhancing and promoting their wine program. She has judged in many competitions, both amateur and commercial. Nancy resides in Maryland.

Building on his passion for wine, travel and teaching, John Sporing founded A Life Well Drunk. He regularly hosts bespoked wine tours around the world. Recently, these tours have included South Africa, Portugal, Argentina, as well as domestic destinations (California and Oregon). John holds certifications by the Society of Wine Educators: Certified Specialist of Wine, the Wine & Spirit Educational Trust: WSET Level 3, the Court of Master Sommeliers: Sommelier, the Sherry Regulatory Council: Certified Sherry Wine Specialist–Intermediate; and from the Center for Wine Origins: Wine Location Specialist.

Jeff Stabins is a Regional Vice President of the American Wine Society and is an AWS Certified Wine Judge. He is a Wine and Spirits Education Trust Diploma student. Jeff is also on the Board of Directors of the Raise a Glass Foundation and is Director of the Great American Amateur Wine Competition. Jeff has enjoyed judging in many wine competitions for 12 years.

Pat Valas began her wine education with summer trips to the Finger Lakes region of New York in the early 80s. She lived near G. Hamilton Mowbray and worked for a summer in his vineyard tying up vines and learning about wine tasting from this East Coast master over lunch. She joined the Les Amis du Vin chapter in Maryland so that she could take classes taught by “Ham” as he was known. In 1983 she joined the American Wine Society as part of the Carroll County MD Chapter and attended her first conference in Crystal City in 1985. The Maryland and Virginia wine festivals became weekend opportunities for more learning.

Pat graduated from the AWS Wine Judge Training Program in 1997 and began to judge at a variety of venues including the American Wine Society Commercial and Amateur competitions, Winemaker Magazine’s Amateur competition, and many local state and county fair competitions. Pat has visited and tasted wine with the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine at conferences and tastings in Provence, Bergerac, Bordeaux and Reims in France, Spain, Switzerland, England and Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Germany, and South Africa.

She has been an instructor in Year 1 of the AWS WJTP since 2009, also the year she and her husband started the NoLoCo AWS chapter in Lovettsville VA. She has completed the WSET level 2 course with merit in 2020.

Anne Vercelli has worked with the Cloverdale Citrus Fair now called the San Francisco
Chronicle Wine Competition, since 1987, most recently as its Assistant Director. Anne is
responsible for assisting in overall planning, organizing and implementing all aspects of the
competition with primary responsibility for receiving, coding, and presenting the over 5,000 wines received each year. She is responsible for a staff of 100 volunteers.

Vercelli has worked as the Coordinator of the Professional Food Competitions of the Sonoma
County Harvest Fair since 1981. She has elevated the food competitions from 2 judgings to 10
judgings with entries increasing each year. She is responsible for 12 chef demonstrations during
the Harvest Fair week-end. She is also a Professional Wine Judge having served on a judging panel for the International Women’s Wine Competition in Santa Rosa, California. Anne has been an instructor since 1981 at Santa Rosa Junior College where she currently teaches six classes in Italian Cuisine in the Culinary Department. She also assists in the College’s Agricultural Department where she teaches Wine Service and Hospitality and Sonoma County Wine Appellations classes.

She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with an AOS degree. Upon graduation she received the Richard Keating award “Most Likely To Succeed”. She was also awarded the coveted position of “Fellowship” in the Escoffier Room at the CIA. Anne received her BA in Food and Nutrition from California State University, Sacramento.

Michael Wilson is president of the AWS New Orleans chapter and holds a WSET III diploma.
He obtained the Certified Wine Judge credential from the American Wine Society in 2021 and also holds a Certified Sommelier certificate. Michael has judged wine competitions throughout the US.

Michael is continually enhancing his wine knowledge, taking courses at the Napa Valley Wine Academy including American Wine and Italian Wine; and with the Wine Scholar Guild where he has completed units on French wine, Spanish wine, Sherry and central Italy.

2022 Competition Judges
Edward Addiss is the president of Wine Traditions Ltd., an importing company that specializes in the wines of France. The company’s portfolio is dedicated to small family-owned domains that produce estate bottled wines with a personal and distinctive expression of their respective appellations. Prior to starting Wine Traditions in 1996, Mr. Addiss worked with different companies in the wine trade beginning in 1979, including retailers and importers in New York City and 11 years with the San Francisco Wine Exchange. Mr. Addiss is a graduate of the Berklee School of Music in Boston and has a degree in composition. He has been a judge for a number of Virginia and East Coast wine competitions. He currently resides in Falls Church, VA.

Melissa Bartlett has a passion for wine, which led her to seek to a career at Virginia’s
favorite winery, Pearmund Cellars. She worked as one of the winery managers and as the
winery sommelier. She is a long-term member of the AWS and served for three years as
Chapter Chair for the John Marshall chapter in Virginia. Melissa is a Certified Judge through
the AWS Wine Judge Certification Program and a Certified Sommelier through the
International Wine Guild. Melissa is a free-lance wine consultant and educator.

Joann Degaglia CSW, CS, CWJ is a Certified Specialist of Wine and a member of the Society of Wine Educators as well as a Certified Advanced Sommelier. She has earned both an American and Italian Wine Specialist Degree from the North American Sommelier Association with honors.

JoAnn is a popular Wine Educator and Associate Instructor at the Westchester Wine School in New York and the North American Sommelier Association in Los Angeles. Since receiving her Wine Judge Certification with Merit from the American Wine Society, she has judged at numerous competitions including the Finger Lakes International, Indy International, Texas Lone Star International, Texas International, Sommeliers Choice Competition, The Buyers Network in San Francisco, the Big E, California State Fair, Bottle Shock, Atlanta Governors Cup, Atlantic Seaboard and many others.

She is an International Wine Judge OIV (10125) having joined the panel of esteemed Judges at the Frankfurt International Trophy. She is the American Wine Society’s Certified Wine Judge Program coordinator/instructor and works part time at two of the Hudson Valley’s great wine destinations, Brotherhood-America’s Oldest Winery and Wine Spectator’s award-winning Relais and Chateaux’s Glenmere Mansion in Chester, New York as a Sommelier and Director of Staff Ed and Training.

Steve DiFrancesco is a winemaking professional with 44 harvests under his belt. He recently retired, after 26 years, as winemaker for Glenora Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes of NY. He helped the winery scale up from a yearly output of 17,000 cases to 41,000 cases, plus an additional 20,000 cases of custom work. Steve judged in his first international wine competition in 1988. He has since judged in numerous regional, national, and international competitions in New York, Virginia, California, and Ohio.

As a winemaker, Steve’s wines have won over 450 gold medals in regional, national, and international competitions. He has made over 60 professional presentations in the Northeast and Midwest. In 2022, Steve was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Eastern Winery Exposition. He is a board member for the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association. Steve is now a winemaking consultant, and has many clients in the Northeast.

Shortly after Rege Duralia joining the American Wine Society in 1992, he became intrigued with wine. That association opened a door to appreciation of wine through education, amateur winemaking and enrolling in Introduction to Winemaking, UC-Davis, a one semester long distance learning course. His judging career began in 2002 on Hilton Head Island for the Annual Wine Festival Judging. Joining the Tasters Guild, also in 2002, provided judging events that brought exposure to many wines from different growing and wine making regions.

Visiting wine growing regions of the world – California, Oregon, Washington, North Carolina, Virginia, New York Finger Lakes, Ohio, Michigan, Northern Georgia, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Hungary, Croatia, Canada, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand and Australia – expanded his horizon of wine. These visits enabled him to understand different grape growing and wine making methods as well as to learn firsthand about wine varietal characteristics and stylistic differences influenced by terroir and different winemaking techniques in the various growing regions.

Rege became a Certified Wine Judge in 2007 by successfully completing a three year course offered by the American Wine Society and was recertified in 2012 and 2018. He is also a wine consultant for the Lake Hickory Country Club, Hickory, NC. Invitations to judge have come from the AWS Commercial and Amateur competition, the Tasters Guild International Wine Judging, the South Carolina State Fair, Atlantic Seaboard Competition, Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Dixie Classic, Wines of the South, New York State Fair, North Carolina State Fair, and Winemaker International Magazine Amateur Wine Competition.

What makes wine interesting is that there are many variable factors influencing its production so that every opening of a bottle is a new adventure. It is the perfect beverage for a meal any time of the day.

Jane Duralia been a member of the American Wine Society since 1992, gradually learning about the many grape varietals. She became fascinated with wine structure variability and how various wine making techniques and practices affect the various result in a specific varietal characteristic and how it presents in the bottle.

Becoming more involved with AWS opened educational doors and she was thirsty for wine knowledge from all parts of the world. She passed the introductory Sommelier course and then followed up with the three year American Wine Society wine certified Judge course, after that she was hooked; learning to evaluate wines enhanced her appreciation of wines in a much broader sense and increased her grape varietal knowledge even more. She became an AWS Certified Wine Judge in 2006 and recertified in 2012 and 2018.

Jane enjoy judging various competitions around the country, annually; AWS Commercial and Amateur, Tasters’ Guild International, INDY International, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association, New York State Fair, NC State Fair, Wines of the South, and Mid-Atlantic Region Competition to name a few; Recently adding Wine Maker International Amateur Wine Competition in 2020-2023. Jane is now a Wine consultant for the Lake Hickory Country Club, Hickory NC. In 2017-2023 she provided wine descriptors and food pairing for the Double Gold recipients at the Tasters’ Guild Competition 2018.

Travelling extensively, arranging tasting and educational opportunities wherever she visited, opened her wine horizons and enhanced her abilities to pair food and wine. The uniqueness of dining as you travel abroad creates an appreciation for wine and food pairing and a hunger for more knowledge. Her travels include: Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Greece, South Africa, Croatia, France, and Hungary. Traveling to Canada (Niagara on the Peninsula, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island)) Washington State (Yakima Valley, Seattle), Oregon (Umpqua and Willamette Valley, and Hood River), California ( from Amador County down through Temecula and tasting rooms all along the way), New York – Finger Lakes, Virginia (Mid Northern), North Carolina (Yakin Valley and beyond) and the Northern Georgia Mountains. In early 2020, Jane spent a month traveling and tasting through New Zealand and Australia.

Sharyn Kervyn (de Volkaersbeke)’s professional career has been devoted to the wine industry, learning and sharing her knowledge with fellow enthusiasts. She is a diploma graduate with honors (dipWSET) through The Wine and Spirit Education Trust, a Certified Specialist of Wine with Society of Wine Educators, Tastevin level member with the Dionysian Wine Society International and Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers.

As a member of the American Wine Society, she served as National Tasting Project Chair (2016-2021), Regional Vice President (2017-2019) and Co-chairs an AWS Chapter she founded. She is also a Certified Wine Judge through AWS. As a professional international Wine Judge since 2010, she has been judging annually for Amateur, Commercial and International competitions around the world. She has expanded operations for multi-unit chains, drafted marketing plans and created elaborate events for Hollywood Elite.

She opened the Getty Center Museum in Los Angeles in 1997 as their Catering Director, developing the standards of service still in use today. As a wine director, she trained front of house staff and her wine lists consistently earned “Best of” Wine Spectator Awards (2 glasses) at The Capital Grille locations where she worked for more than a decade. Sharyn currently serves on the Wine Education Committee for AWS, where she wrote and developed WineSmarts II. She teaches wine courses at area colleges and founded KdV Wine Services in 2021.

Linda King is a Certified International Wine Judge, Winemaker, Winery Consultant, and Educator. Linda is a retired winemaker, last working for RagApple Lassie Vineyards in NC and has been a winemaker for over 40 years. Linda does consulting in the areas of winemaking, wine appreciation and wine education.

A lifetime member of the American Wine Society, Linda has served on that Board, ran the AWS Wine Judge Certification Program, and was voted Most Outstanding Member in 1993. In addition, Linda was co-founder of the Pittsburgh, PA chapter of the AWS, which went on to become one of the largest, eventually breaking down into several chapters. Upon moving to NC, Linda, along with her husband, Tom, became founders of the Wine Lovers Club of Winston-Salem, another AWS Chapter.

Matthew Kristofik is Past Chairman of the American Wine Society Commercial Wine
Competition. Matt initially became interested in wine while stationed in Vallejo, California in the early 1960’s. A longtime member of the American Wine Society, he chaired the Society’s
Commercial Wine Competition for twenty years as well as the Pennsylvania Winery Association
Competition. He has consulted and chaired the implementation of several amateur wine
competitions in the Pittsburgh area. Matt is actively involved in wine education as well as pairing wine with food. In recent years, he has coordinated wine tours to the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina to introduce that area to friends and fellow oenophiles. Matt served in the US Navy Submarine Service as a nuclear power plant operator. On completion of service, he graduated from St. Vincent College receiving a BS in Biology. He recently retired after over 30 years in neurosurgical research focusing on the treatment of brain tumors.

Annemarie Morse Annemarie has a Master’s Degree in Oenology from Cornell University and has taught wine courses at a University level. She is the Director of Education for the American Wine Society and has been certified as a wine judge through their program since 2012. She developed and taught classes and sessions at the National Wine Conferences. She is a Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers. She is a published freelance wine & food writer and blogger.

Annemarie is a trained descriptive panelist for the sensory evaluation of artisan cheese and alcoholic beverages at Cornell University. Annemarie hosts and plans wine tours and cruises of wine regions through her company, Wine By Annemarie, LLC as well as providing consulting services to restaurants and classes for staff, private events and the community. She has a passion for food and wine, exploring different regions of the world and sharing these experiences with others.

Ron Natalie is an AWS Certified Wine Judge. He also holds WSET Level 3 certification and is
certified as an aficionado of wine by Robert Parker and Kevin Zraly. He is an AWS life member and chapter chair. Ron developed his love of wine after running a marathon in Bordeaux. He lives in North Carolina with his equally wine-crazed wife.

Kevin Ostrowski is a former high school chemistry, physics, and math teacher and a retired QA/QC nuclear utility executive. He is currently the American Wine Society’s Western Pennsylvania Regional Ambassador, Chapter Chair of the AWS Beaver County, PA, chapter, and member of the AWS Education Committee. An AWS Certified Wine Judge, Kevin is a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators, holds a Wine and Spirits Education Trust Level 3 Award in Wine and Spirits (with Merit), has a Wine Scholar Guild Master Level Champagne Certificate, has completed level 1 Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, and is PLCB RAMP certified. He has enjoyed the privilege of judging many local and regional wine competitions.

An Instructor for AWS Wine Judge Certification Training, he is also a wine instructor for Butler County Community College in Butler, PA and has taught the Super Tasters Class for the American Wine Society. A home wine maker, he has won several medals from both AWS and WineMaker magazine. Kevin is a member of The Wine Century Club, GuildSomm, the Society of Wine Educators, the Wine Scholar Guild, and the Pennsylvania Wine Society. Kevin Resides in Beaver, PA.

Nancy Slick is a long-term member of the American Wine Society and supporter of the
organization. She is a graduate of the Wine Judge Training Program and a Certified Wine Judge.
Nancy also teaches in the program and has developed a specialty in ciders and meads in addition to wine. Additionally, she has presented many educational sessions on all aspects of wine and has judged in many competitions, both amateur and commercial. Nancy has worked many years in wine retail and is currently working in food service and enhancing and promoting their wine program. She has judged in many competitions, both amateur and commercial. Nancy resides in Maryland.

Building on his passion for wine, travel and teaching, John Sporing founded A Life Well Drunk. He regularly hosts bespoked wine tours around the world. Recently, these tours have included South Africa, Portugal, Argentina, as well as domestic destinations (California and Oregon). John holds certifications by the Society of Wine Educators: Certified Specialist of Wine, the Wine & Spirit Educational Trust: WSET Level 3, the Court of Master Sommeliers: Sommelier, the Sherry Regulatory Council: Certified Sherry Wine Specialist–Intermediate; and from the Center for Wine Origins: Wine Location Specialist.

Jeff Stabins is a Regional Vice President of the American Wine Society and is an AWS Certified Wine Judge. He is a Wine and Spirits Education Trust Diploma student. Jeff is also on the Board of Directors of the Raise a Glass Foundation and is Director of the Great American Amateur Wine Competition. Jeff has enjoyed judging in many wine competitions for 12 years.

William (Bill) Stefan is president of the American Wine Society, an organization with about 150 Chapters and over 7,000 members. He holds wine certifications from several organizations, including Certified Specialist of Wine and professional member of the Society of Wine Educators, Wine & Spirits Education Trust Level 3 Award in Wines with Distinction, Level 3 Sommelier with the National Wine School, Sherry Wine Specialist by the Regulatory Council of Jerez-Xeres-Sherry Denomination of Origin and Provence Wines Master Level with the Wine Scholar Guild.

Bill is an AWS Certified Judge and has judged at both the National and International levels. In addition, he is an avid amateur winemaker himself and has captured numerous medals. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of wine and food in the Washington DC area.

Pat Valas began her wine education with summer trips to the Finger Lakes region of New York in the early 80s. She lived near G. Hamilton Mowbray and worked for a summer in his vineyard tying up vines and learning about wine tasting from this East Coast master over lunch. She joined the Les Amis du Vin chapter in Maryland so that she could take classes taught by “Ham” as he was known. In 1983 she joined the American Wine Society as part of the Carroll County MD Chapter and attended her first conference in Crystal City in 1985. The Maryland and Virginia wine festivals became weekend opportunities for more learning.

Pat graduated from the AWS Wine Judge Training Program in 1997 and began to judge at a variety of venues including the American Wine Society Commercial and Amateur competitions, Winemaker Magazine’s Amateur competition, and many local state and county fair competitions. Pat has visited and tasted wine with the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine at conferences and tastings in Provence, Bergerac, Bordeaux and Reims in France, Spain, Switzerland, England and Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Germany, and South Africa.

She has been an instructor in Year 1 of the AWS WJTP since 2009, also the year she and her husband started the NoLoCo AWS chapter in Lovettsville VA. She has completed the WSET level 2 course with merit in 2020.

Anne Vercelli has worked with the Cloverdale Citrus Fair now called the San Francisco
Chronicle Wine Competition, since 1987, most recently as its Assistant Director. Anne is
responsible for assisting in overall planning, organizing and implementing all aspects of the
competition with primary responsibility for receiving, coding, and presenting the over 5,000 wines received each year. She is responsible for a staff of 100 volunteers.

Vercelli has worked as the Coordinator of the Professional Food Competitions of the Sonoma
County Harvest Fair since 1981. She has elevated the food competitions from 2 judgings to 10
judgings with entries increasing each year. She is responsible for 12 chef demonstrations during
the Harvest Fair week-end. She is also a Professional Wine Judge having served on a judging panel for the International Women’s Wine Competition in Santa Rosa, California. Anne has been an instructor since 1981 at Santa Rosa Junior College where she currently teaches 6 classes in Italian Cuisine in the Culinary Department. She also assists in the College’s Agricultural Department where she teaches Wine Service and Hospitality and Sonoma County Wine Appellations classes.

She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with an AOS degree. Upon graduation she received the Richard Keating award “Most Likely To Succeed”. She was also awarded the coveted position of “Fellowship” in the Escoffier Room at the CIA. Anne received her BA in Food and Nutrition from California State University, Sacramento.

2021 Competition Judges
Melissa Bartlett has a passion for wine, which led her to seek to a career at Virginia’s
favorite winery, Pearmund Cellars. She worked as one of the winery managers and as the
winery sommelier. She is a long-term member of the AWS and served for three years as
Chapter Chair for the John Marshall chapter in Virginia. Melissa is a Certified Judge through
the AWS Wine Judge Certification Program and a Certified Sommelier through the
International Wine Guild. Melissa is a free-lance wine consultant and educator.

Joann Degaglia CSW, CS, CWJ is a Certified Specialist of Wine and a member of the Society of Wine Educators as well as a Certified Advanced Sommelier. She has earned both an American and Italian Wine Specialist Degree from the North American Sommelier Association with honors.

JoAnn is a popular Wine Educator and Associate Instructor at the Westchester Wine School in New York and the North American Sommelier Association in Los Angeles. Since receiving her Wine Judge Certification with Merit from the American Wine Society, she has judged at numerous competitions including the Finger Lakes International, Indy International, Texas Lone Star International, Texas International, Sommeliers Choice Competition, The Buyers Network in San Francisco, the Big E, California State Fair, Bottle Shock, Atlanta Governors Cup, Atlantic Seaboard and many others.

She is an International Wine Judge OIV (10125) having joined the panel of esteemed Judges at the Frankfurt International Trophy. She is the American Wine Society’s Certified Wine Judge Program coordinator/instructor and works part time at two of the Hudson Valley’s great wine destinations, Brotherhood-America’s Oldest Winery and Wine Spectator’s award-winning Relais and Chateaux’s Glenmere Mansion in Chester, New York as a Sommelier and Director of Staff Ed and Training.

Steve DiFrancesco is a winemaking professional with 44 harvests under his belt. He recently retired, after 26 years, as winemaker for Glenora Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes of NY. He helped the winery scale up from a yearly output of 17,000 cases to 41,000 cases, plus an additional 20,000 cases of custom work. Steve judged in his first international wine competition in 1988. He has since judged in numerous regional, national, and international competitions in New York, Virginia, California, and Ohio.

As a winemaker, Steve’s wines have won over 450 gold medals in regional, national, and international competitions. He has made over 60 professional presentations in the Northeast and Midwest. In 2022, Steve was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Eastern Winery Exposition. He is a board member for the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association. Steve is now a winemaking consultant, and has many clients in the Northeast.

Shortly after Rege Duralia joining the American Wine Society in 1992, he became intrigued with wine. That association opened a door to appreciation of wine through education, amateur winemaking and enrolling in Introduction to Winemaking, UC-Davis, a one semester long distance learning course. His judging career began in 2002 on Hilton Head Island for the Annual Wine Festival Judging. Joining the Tasters Guild, also in 2002, provided judging events that brought exposure to many wines from different growing and wine making regions.

Visiting wine growing regions of the world – California, Oregon, Washington, North Carolina, Virginia, New York Finger Lakes, Ohio, Michigan, Northern Georgia, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Hungary, Croatia, Canada, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand and Australia – expanded his horizon of wine. These visits enabled him to understand different grape growing and wine making methods as well as to learn firsthand about wine varietal characteristics and stylistic differences influenced by terroir and different winemaking techniques in the various growing regions.

Rege became a Certified Wine Judge in 2007 by successfully completing a three year course offered by the American Wine Society and was recertified in 2012 and 2018. He is also a wine consultant for the Lake Hickory Country Club, Hickory, NC. Invitations to judge have come from the AWS Commercial and Amateur competition, the Tasters Guild International Wine Judging, the South Carolina State Fair, Atlantic Seaboard Competition, Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Dixie Classic, Wines of the South, New York State Fair, North Carolina State Fair, and Winemaker International Magazine Amateur Wine Competition.

What makes wine interesting is that there are many variable factors influencing its production so that every opening of a bottle is a new adventure. It is the perfect beverage for a meal any time of the day.

Jane Duralia been a member of the American Wine Society since 1992, gradually learning about the many grape varietals. She became fascinated with wine structure variability and how various wine making techniques and practices affect the various result in a specific varietal characteristic and how it presents in the bottle.

Becoming more involved with AWS opened educational doors and she was thirsty for wine knowledge from all parts of the world. She passed the introductory Sommelier course and then followed up with the three year American Wine Society wine certified Judge course, after that she was hooked; learning to evaluate wines enhanced her appreciation of wines in a much broader sense and increased her grape varietal knowledge even more. She became an AWS Certified Wine Judge in 2006 and recertified in 2012 and 2018.

Jane enjoy judging various competitions around the country, annually; AWS Commercial and Amateur, Tasters’ Guild International, INDY International, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association, New York State Fair, NC State Fair, Wines of the South, and Mid-Atlantic Region Competition to name a few; Recently adding Wine Maker International Amateur Wine Competition in 2020-2023. Jane is now a Wine consultant for the Lake Hickory Country Club, Hickory NC. In 2017-2023 she provided wine descriptors and food pairing for the Double Gold recipients at the Tasters’ Guild Competition 2018.

Travelling extensively, arranging tasting and educational opportunities wherever she visited, opened her wine horizons and enhanced her abilities to pair food and wine. The uniqueness of dining as you travel abroad creates an appreciation for wine and food pairing and a hunger for more knowledge. Her travels include: Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Greece, South Africa, Croatia, France, and Hungary. Traveling to Canada (Niagara on the Peninsula, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island)) Washington State (Yakima Valley, Seattle), Oregon (Umpqua and Willamette Valley, and Hood River), California ( from Amador County down through Temecula and tasting rooms all along the way), New York – Finger Lakes, Virginia (Mid Northern), North Carolina (Yakin Valley and beyond) and the Northern Georgia Mountains. In early 2020, Jane spent a month traveling and tasting through New Zealand and Australia.

Tara Hardiman has a deep interest in promoting excellence in wine and spirits education, production, judging, and consumer enjoyment. Decades-long pursuit of wine and spirits expertise have afforded her a wealth of certifications, including American Wine Society Certified Wine Judge, a WSET Diploma, and Certified Specialist of Wine and Certified Specialist of Spirits from the Society of Wine Educators.

The basis for Tara’s professional life in Washington, DC began with a BS and MA from Georgetown University in Foreign Service and International Affairs. She has been active in intelligence collection and analysis, leadership, and US-government-wide strategic planning in the Department of Homeland Security and CIA among other organizations.

Tara’s passion for exploring new and emerging trends, regions, and techniques is evident in her extensive travels to wine regions including Australia (McLaren Vale, Barossa, Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, Hunter Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, Macedon Ranges, Tasmania,), France (Burgundy and Bordeaux), Spain (Ribera del Duero), Austria (Wachau), and United States (Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara, Temecula, Long Island, Connecticut, New Mexico, and Arizona).

Sharyn Kervyn (de Volkaersbeke)’s professional career has been devoted to the wine industry, learning and sharing her knowledge with fellow enthusiasts. She is a diploma graduate with honors (dipWSET) through The Wine and Spirit Education Trust, a Certified Specialist of Wine with Society of Wine Educators, Tastevin level member with the Dionysian Wine Society International and Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers.

As a member of the American Wine Society, she served as National Tasting Project Chair (2016-2021), Regional Vice President (2017-2019) and Co-chairs an AWS Chapter she founded. She is also a Certified Wine Judge through AWS. As a professional international Wine Judge since 2010, she has been judging annually for Amateur, Commercial and International competitions around the world. She has expanded operations for multi-unit chains, drafted marketing plans and created elaborate events for Hollywood Elite.

She opened the Getty Center Museum in Los Angeles in 1997 as their Catering Director, developing the standards of service still in use today. As a wine director, she trained front of house staff and her wine lists consistently earned “Best of” Wine Spectator Awards (2 glasses) at The Capital Grille locations where she worked for more than a decade. Sharyn currently serves on the Wine Education Committee for AWS, where she wrote and developed WineSmarts II. She teaches wine courses at area colleges and founded KdV Wine Services in 2021.

Linda King is a Certified International Wine Judge, Winemaker, Winery Consultant, and Educator. Linda is a retired winemaker, last working for RagApple Lassie Vineyards in NC and has been a winemaker for over 40 years. Linda does consulting in the areas of winemaking, wine appreciation and wine education.

A lifetime member of the American Wine Society, Linda has served on that Board, ran the AWS Wine Judge Certification Program, and was voted Most Outstanding Member in 1993. In addition, Linda was co-founder of the Pittsburgh, PA chapter of the AWS, which went on to become one of the largest, eventually breaking down into several chapters. Upon moving to NC, Linda, along with her husband, Tom, became founders of the Wine Lovers Club of Winston-Salem, another AWS Chapter.

Matthew Kristofik is Past Chairman of the American Wine Society Commercial Wine
Competition. Matt initially became interested in wine while stationed in Vallejo, California in the early 1960’s. A longtime member of the American Wine Society, he chaired the Society’s
Commercial Wine Competition for twenty years as well as the Pennsylvania Winery Association
Competition. He has consulted and chaired the implementation of several amateur wine
competitions in the Pittsburgh area. Matt is actively involved in wine education as well as pairing wine with food. In recent years, he has coordinated wine tours to the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina to introduce that area to friends and fellow oenophiles. Matt served in the US Navy Submarine Service as a nuclear power plant operator. On completion of service, he graduated from St. Vincent College receiving a BS in Biology. He recently retired after over 30 years in neurosurgical research focusing on the treatment of brain tumors.

Annemarie Morse Annemarie has a Master’s Degree in Oenology from Cornell University and has taught wine courses at a University level. She is the Director of Education for the American Wine Society and has been certified as a wine judge through their program since 2012. She developed and taught classes and sessions at the National Wine Conferences. She is a Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers. She is a published freelance wine & food writer and blogger.

Annemarie is a trained descriptive panelist for the sensory evaluation of artisan cheese and alcoholic beverages at Cornell University. Annemarie hosts and plans wine tours and cruises of wine regions through her company, Wine By Annemarie, LLC as well as providing consulting services to restaurants and classes for staff, private events and the community. She has a passion for food and wine, exploring different regions of the world and sharing these experiences with others.

Ron Natalie is an AWS Certified Wine Judge. He also holds WSET Level 3 certification and is
certified as an aficionado of wine by Robert Parker and Kevin Zraly. He is an AWS life member and chapter chair. Ron developed his love of wine after running a marathon in Bordeaux. He lives in North Carolina with his equally wine-crazed wife.

Nancy Slick is a long-term member of the American Wine Society and supporter of the
organization. She is a graduate of the Wine Judge Training Program and a Certified Wine Judge.
Nancy also teaches in the program and has developed a specialty in ciders and meads in addition to wine. Additionally, she has presented many educational sessions on all aspects of wine and has judged in many competitions, both amateur and commercial. Nancy has worked many years in wine retail and is currently working in food service and enhancing and promoting their wine program. She has judged in many competitions, both amateur and commercial. Nancy resides in Maryland.

Building on his passion for wine, travel and teaching, John Sporing founded A Life Well Drunk. He regularly hosts bespoked wine tours around the world. Recently, these tours have included South Africa, Portugal, Argentina, as well as domestic destinations (California and Oregon). John holds certifications by the Society of Wine Educators: Certified Specialist of Wine, the Wine & Spirit Educational Trust: WSET Level 3, the Court of Master Sommeliers: Sommelier, the Sherry Regulatory Council: Certified Sherry Wine Specialist–Intermediate; and from the Center for Wine Origins: Wine Location Specialist.

Jeff Stabins is a Regional Vice President of the American Wine Society and is an AWS Certified Wine Judge. He is a Wine and Spirits Education Trust Diploma student. Jeff is also on the Board of Directors of the Raise a Glass Foundation and is Director of the Great American Amateur Wine Competition. Jeff has enjoyed judging in many wine competitions for 12 years.

William (Bill) Stefan is president of the American Wine Society, an organization with about 150 Chapters and over 7,000 members. He holds wine certifications from several organizations, including Certified Specialist of Wine and professional member of the Society of Wine Educators, Wine & Spirits Education Trust Level 3 Award in Wines with Distinction, Level 3 Sommelier with the National Wine School, Sherry Wine Specialist by the Regulatory Council of Jerez-Xeres-Sherry Denomination of Origin and Provence Wines Master Level with the Wine Scholar Guild.

Bill is an AWS Certified Judge and has judged at both the National and International levels. In addition, he is an avid amateur winemaker himself and has captured numerous medals. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of wine and food in the Washington DC area.

Anne Vercelli has worked with the Cloverdale Citrus Fair now called the San Francisco
Chronicle Wine Competition, since 1987, most recently as its Assistant Director. Anne is
responsible for assisting in overall planning, organizing and implementing all aspects of the
competition with primary responsibility for receiving, coding, and presenting the over 5,000 wines received each year. She is responsible for a staff of 100 volunteers.

Vercelli has worked as the Coordinator of the Professional Food Competitions of the Sonoma
County Harvest Fair since 1981. She has elevated the food competitions from 2 judgings to 10
judgings with entries increasing each year. She is responsible for 12 chef demonstrations during
the Harvest Fair week-end. She is also a Professional Wine Judge having served on a judging panel for the International Women’s Wine Competition in Santa Rosa, California. Anne has been an instructor since 1981 at Santa Rosa Junior College where she currently teaches 6 classes in Italian Cuisine in the Culinary Department. She also assists in the College’s Agricultural Department where she teaches Wine Service and Hospitality and Sonoma County Wine Appellations classes.

She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with an AOS degree. Upon graduation she received the Richard Keating award “Most Likely To Succeed”. She was also awarded the coveted position of “Fellowship” in the Escoffier Room at the CIA. Anne received her BA in Food and Nutrition from California State University, Sacramento.

2019 Competition Judges

Tom Bannwart is the National Food and Beverage Director for Billy Casper Golf. He is
a graduate from Virginia Tech with a degree in Hospitality & Tourism, and has directed
Food and Beverage operations at Walt Disney World, The Peabody Hotel, and the Ocean
Reef Club. He has also held General Manager positions at high end private county clubs
over his 23-year career. Tom is passionate about promoting East Coast wines and wineries,
and this year marks his 8th time as a ASWA Wine Competition judge. Tom is also a Certified
Sommelier by The Court of Master Sommeliers. Tom resides in Daleville, VA with his wife
and two children.

Melissa Bartlett has a passion for wine, which led her to seek to a career at Virginia’s
favorite winery, Pearmund Cellars. She worked as one of the winery managers and as the
winery sommelier. She is a long-term member of the AWS and served for three years as
Chapter Chair for the John Marshall chapter in Virginia. Melissa is a Certified Judge through
the AWS Wine Judge Certification Program and a Certified Sommelier through the
International Wine Guild. Melissa is a free-lance wine consultant and educator.

JoAnn DeGaglia is a Certified Specialist of Wine and a member of the Society of Wine
Educators as well as a Certified Advanced Sommelier earning both an American and Italian
Wine Specialist Degree from the North American Sommelier Assn with honors. She is a
popular Wine Educator and Associate Instructor at the Westchester Wine School in New
York and the North American Sommelier Association in Los Angeles. Earning her Wine
Judge Certification from the American Wine Society she has judged at numerous
competitions including the Finger Lakes International, Indy International, Texas Lone Star,
The Big E among others. She works part time at two of the Hudson Valleys great wine
destinations, Brotherhood, Americas Oldest Winery and the Wine Spectators award
winning Glenmere Mansion in Chester New York. She is a self-proclaimed wine disciple
who loves the people, the places and the wines of the world.

Jane Duralia has been a member of the American Wine Society (AWS) since 1992,
gradually learning about the many grape varietals. She became fascinated with wine
structure variability and how various wine making techniques and practices affect the
various result in a specific varietal characteristic and how it presents in the bottle.
Becoming more involved with AWS opened educational doors and she was thirsty for wine
knowledge from all parts of the world. Jane passed the introductory Sommelier course and
then followed up with the three year AWS certified Judge course, and is now a Certified
Wine Judge. After this she was hooked; knowing how to evaluate wines hence appreciating
them even more. Jane enjoys judging an average of 10 -14 competitions annually around
the country; Tasters’ Guild International, INDY International, Atlantic Seaboard, New York
State, Fair, NC State Fair, Wines of the South, and Mid-Atlantic Region Competition to name
a few. Travelling extensively, arranging tasting and educational opportunities wherever we
visited, opened her wine horizons and enhanced her abilities to pair food and wine. The
uniqueness of dining as you travel abroad creates an appreciation for wine and food
pairing and a hunger for more knowledge. Jane’s travels include: Italy, Germany, Austria,
Spain, Portugal, Greece, South Africa, Croatia, France, and Hungary. Traveling to Canada
(Niagara on the Peninsula, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island)) Washington State (Yakima
Valley, Seattle), Oregon (Umpqua and Willamette Valley, and Hood River), California (from
Amador County down through Temecula and tasting rooms all along the way), New York –
Finger Lakes, Virginia (Mid Northern), North Carolina (Yakin Valley and beyond) and the
Northern Georgia Mountains.

Rege Duralia became intrigued with wine shortly after joining the American Wine
Society (AWS) in 1992. That association opened a door to amateur winemaking and
enrolling in Introduction to Winemaking, UC-Davis, a one semester long distance learning
course. He joined the Tasters Guild in 2002. Visits to wine growing regions of the world –
California, Oregon, Washington, North Carolina, Virginia, New York Finger Lakes, Ohio,
Michigan, Germany, Austria, Italy, Southern France, Hungary, Croatia, Canada, South Africa,
Spain, Portugal and Australia expanded his horizon of wine. These visits enabled him to
understand different grape growing and wine making methods as well as to learn firsthand
about wine varietal characteristics and stylistic differences influenced by terroir and
different winemaking techniques in the various growing regions. Rege became a Certified
Wine Judge in 2007 by successfully completing a three year course offered by the American
Wine Society and was recertified in 2012.

His judging career began in 2002 on Hilton Head Island for the Annual Wine Festival Judging. Invitations to judge have come from the AWS Commercial and Amateurcompetition, the Tasters Guild Consumer Judging and International Wine Judging, the South
Carolina State Fair, Atlantic Seaboard Competition, Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine
Competition, Wines of the South, New York State Fair and North Carolina State Fair.
What makes wine interesting is that there are many variable factors influencing its
production so that every opening of a bottle is a new adventure. It is the perfect beverage
for a meal any time of the day.

Linda King is a Certified International Wine Judge, Winemaker, Winery Consultant, and
Educator. Linda is a retired winemaker, last working for Rag Apple Lassie Vineyards in NC and hasbeen a winemaker for over 40 years. She is an internationally certified wine judge. Linda has a consulting business titled “Linda King Consulting, LLC” which specializes in winemaking, wine appreciation and wine education. A more than 30 year member of the American Wine Society, Linda has served on that Board and ran the AWS Wine Judge Certification Program, and was voted Most Outstanding National Member in 1993.

Matthew Kristofik is Past Chairman of the American Wine Society Commercial Wine
Competition. Matt initially became interested in wine while stationed in Vallejo, California in the
early 1960’s. A longtime member of the American Wine Society, he chaired the Society’s
Commercial Wine Competition for twenty years as well as the Pennsylvania Winery Association
Competition. He has consulted and chaired the implementation of several amateur wine
competitions in the Pittsburgh area. Matt is actively involved in wine education as well as pairing wine with food. In recent years, he has coordinated wine tours to the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina to introduce that area to friends and fellow oenophiles. Matt served in the US Navy Submarine Service as a nuclear power plant operator. On completion of service, he graduated from St. Vincent College receiving a BS in Biology. He recently retired after over 30 years in neurosurgical research focusing on the treatment of brain tumors.

Annemarie Morse has a master’s degree in enology from Cornell University. She has
worked in the wine industry for over 10 years in various capacities; an assistant winemaker, wine educator, judge, sales and consulting. She is the initiator and chairperson for the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Wine Society, (AWS). Annemarie has completed the Court of Master Sommeliers, Introductory Course and Exam and is an AWS certified wine judge, having judged in the following competitions: Finger Lakes International, Winemaker Magazine, New York State Fair, Big E Northeast Gold, Great Lakes and Eastern States as well as judging panels for Cornell University research. She is a passionate wine educator, instructing Cornell students, faculty, staff, Alumni and the public on wine education, appreciation, winemaking, blending, judging, business meal etiquette, cooking with wine and wine & food pairing. She is a published freelance wine and food writer.

Ron Natalie is a AWS Certified Wine Judge. He also holds WSET level 3 certification and is
certified as an aficionado of wine by Robert Parker and Kevin Zraly. He is an AWS life member and chapter chair. Ron developed his love of wine after running a marathon in Bordeaux. He lives in North Carolina with his equally wine-crazed wife.

Kevin Ostrowski is a former high school chemistry, physics, and math teacher, and a
retired QA/QC utility executive. He is the current Chapter Chair of the American Wine Society’s
(AWS) Beaver County, PA, chapter. An AWS certified wine judge, Kevin is also a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) with the Society of Wine Educators, holds a Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 Award in Wine and Spirits (with Merit), and has completed level 1 Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers. He has enjoyed the privilege of judging many local and regional wine competitions. He will begin November 2019 as an Instructor for Wine Judge Certification Training Year 1 with the American Wine Society, and is an instructor of wine for Butler County Community College in Butler, PA. As a home wine maker, he has won several medals from both AWS and WineMaker magazine. Kevin Resides in Beaver, PA.

Nancy Slick is a long-term member of the American Wine Society and supporter of the
organization. She is a graduate of the Wine Judge Training Program and a Certified Wine Judge. Nancy also teaches in the program and has developed a specialty in ciders and meads in addition to wine. Additionally, she has presented many educational sessions on all aspects of wine and has judged in many competitions, both amateur and commercial. Nancy has worked many years in wine retail and is currently working in food service and enhancing and promoting their wine program. She has judged in many competitions, both amateur and commercial. Nancy resides in Maryland.

John Sporing is building on his passion for wine, travel and teaching, John founded A Life
Well Drunk. He regularly hosts bespoked wine tours around the world. Recently, these tours have included South Africa, Portugal, Argentina, as well as domestic destinations (California and Oregon). John holds certifications by the Society of Wine Educators (Certified Specialist of Wine), the Wine & Spirit Educational Trust (WSET Level 3), the Court of Master Sommeliers (Sommelier), the Sherry Regulatory Council (Certified Sherry Wine Specialist–Intermediate); and from the Center for Wine Origins (Wine Location Specialist).

Jeff Stabins is a Regional Vice President of the American Wine Society (AWS) and is an
AWS Certified Wine Judge. He is a Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Diploma
student. Jeff is also on the Board of Directors of the Raise a Glass Foundation and is Director
of the Great American Amateur Wine Competition. Jeff has enjoyed judging in many wine
competitions for 12 years.

Pat Valas is an American Wine Society Certified Judge as well as being an instructor for
the AWS wine judge training program and, from 1995 to the present, has judged in many
wine competitions, including the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, American
Wine Society Commercial and Amateurs Competitions, Winemaker Magazine’s Amateur
competition, the New Jersey Governor’s Cup, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, the
Pittsburgh AWS Regional Amateur Competition, the Maryland Wine Festival Amateur, Best
of Show Frederick County Fair Amateur, Montgomery County Fair Amateur and the
Maryland State Fair Amateur which included the Best of Show. Part of her early training
involved a summer job in the vineyards of G. Hamilton Mowbray in Westminster, MD
where she tied up vines and learned from this east coast master. She currently does freelance
wine consulting, wine writing and wine education. She holds a DeLong Century Club
certificate having tasted 100 different wine varietals and is close to her second 100. She
has traveled with the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine to various international
conferences and wine tastings in Provence, Bergerac, and Reims (Champagne) France;
Barcelona, Spain; Morges, Switzerland, London, England, Budapest, Hungary and most
recently Sonoma and Napa in Northern California. She especially enjoyed her Bordeaux
river cruise with Cooper Vineyard and explored Burgundy with them in Sept 2016 followed
by a Danube cruise with the AWS in spring 2017.

Anne Vercelli has worked with the Cloverdale Citrus Fair now called the San Francisco
Chronicle Wine Competition, since 1987, most recently as its Assistant Director. Anne is
responsible for assisting in overall planning, organizing and implementing all aspects of the
competition with primary responsibility for receiving, coding, and presenting the over 5,000 wines received each year. She is responsible for a staff of 100 volunteers.
Vercelli has worked as the Coordinator of the Professional Food Competitions of the Sonoma
County Harvest Fair since 1981. She has elevated the food competitions from 2 judgings to 10
judgings with entries increasing each year. She is responsible for 12 chef demonstrations during the Harvest Fair week-end. She is also a Professional Wine Judge having served on a judging panel for the International Women’s Wine Competition in Santa Rosa, California.
Anne has been an instructor since 1981 at Santa Rosa Junior College where she currently teaches 6 classes in Italian Cuisine in the Culinary Department. She also assists in the College’s Agricultural Department where she teaches Wine Service and Hospitality and Sonoma County Wine Appellations classes. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (C.I.A.) with an A.O.S degree. Upon graduation she received the Richard Keating award “Most Likely To Succeed”. She was also awarded the coveted position of “Fellowship” in the Escoffier Room at the C.I.A. Anne received her B.A. in Food and Nutrition from California State University, Sacramento.

2018 Competition Judges

Tom Bannwart is the National Food and Beverage Director for Billy Casper Golf. He is
a graduate from Virginia Tech with a degree in Hospitality & Tourism, and has directed
Food and Beverage operations at Walt Disney World, The Peabody Hotel, and the Ocean
Reef Club. He has also held General Manager positions at high end private county clubs
over his 23-year career. Tom is passionate about promoting East Coast wines and wineries,
and this year marks his 8th time as a ASWA Wine Competition judge. Tom is also a Certified
Sommelier by The Court of Master Sommeliers. Tom resides in Daleville, VA with his wife
and two children.

Melissa Bartlett has a passion for wine, which led her to seek to a career at Virginia’s
favorite winery, Pearmund Cellars. She worked as one of the winery managers and as the
winery sommelier. She is a long-term member of the AWS and served for three years as
Chapter Chair for the John Marshall chapter in Virginia. Melissa is a Certified Judge through
the AWS Wine Judge Certification Program and a Certified Sommelier through the
International Wine Guild. Melissa is a free-lance wine consultant and educator.

JoAnn DeGaglia is a Certified Specialist of Wine and a member of the Society of Wine
Educators as well as a Certified Advanced Sommelier earning both an American and Italian
Wine Specialist Degree from the North American Sommelier Assn with honors. She is a
popular Wine Educator and Associate Instructor at the Westchester Wine School in New
York and the North American Sommelier Association in Los Angeles. Earning her Wine
Judge Certification from the American Wine Society she has judged at numerous
competitions including the Finger Lakes International, Indy International, Texas Lone Star,
The Big E among others. She works part time at two of the Hudson Valleys great wine
destinations, Brotherhood, Americas Oldest Winery and the Wine Spectators award
winning Glenmere Mansion in Chester New York. She is a self-proclaimed wine disciple
who loves the people, the places and the wines of the world.

Jane Duralia has been a member of the American Wine Society (AWS) since 1992,
gradually learning about the many grape varietals. She became fascinated with wine
structure variability and how various wine making techniques and practices affect the
various result in a specific varietal characteristic and how it presents in the bottle.
Becoming more involved with AWS opened educational doors and she was thirsty for wine
knowledge from all parts of the world. Jane passed the introductory Sommelier course and
then followed up with the three year AWS certified Judge course, and is now a Certified
Wine Judge. After this she was hooked; knowing how to evaluate wines hence appreciating
them even more. Jane enjoys judging an average of 10 -14 competitions annually around
the country; Tasters’ Guild International, INDY International, Atlantic Seaboard, New York
State, Fair, NC State Fair, Wines of the South, and Mid-Atlantic Region Competition to name
a few.
Travelling extensively, arranging tasting and educational opportunities wherever we
visited, opened her wine horizons and enhanced her abilities to pair food and wine. The
uniqueness of dining as you travel abroad creates an appreciation for wine and food
pairing and a hunger for more knowledge. Jane’s travels include: Italy, Germany, Austria,
Spain, Portugal, Greece, South Africa, Croatia, France, and Hungary. Traveling to Canada
(Niagara on the Peninsula, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island)) Washington State (Yakima
Valley, Seattle), Oregon (Umpqua and Willamette Valley, and Hood River), California (from
Amador County down through Temecula and tasting rooms all along the way), New York –
Finger Lakes, Virginia (Mid Northern), North Carolina (Yakin Valley and beyond) and the
Northern Georgia Mountains.

Rege Duralia became intrigued with wine shortly after joining the American Wine
Society (AWS) in 1992. That association opened a door to amateur winemaking and
enrolling in Introduction to Winemaking, UC-Davis, a one semester long distance learning
course. He joined the Tasters Guild in 2002. Visits to wine growing regions of the world –
California, Oregon, Washington, North Carolina, Virginia, New York Finger Lakes, Ohio,
Michigan, Germany, Austria, Italy, Southern France, Hungary, Croatia, Canada, South Africa,
Spain, Portugal and Australia expanded his horizon of wine. These visits enabled him to
understand different grape growing and wine making methods as well as to learn firsthand
about wine varietal characteristics and stylistic differences influenced by terroir and
different winemaking techniques in the various growing regions. Rege became a Certified
Wine Judge in 2007 by successfully completing a three year course offered by the American
Wine Society and was recertified in 2012.
His judging career began in 2002 on Hilton Head Island for the Annual Wine Festival
Judging. Invitations to judge have come from the AWS Commercial and Amateur
competition, the Tasters Guild Consumer Judging and International Wine Judging, the South
Carolina State Fair, Atlantic Seaboard Competition, Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine
Competition, Wines of the South, New York State Fair and North Carolina State Fair.
What makes wine interesting is that there are many variable factors influencing its
production so that every opening of a bottle is a new adventure. It is the perfect beverage
for a meal any time of the day.

Linda King is a Certified International Wine Judge, Winemaker, Winery Consultant, and
Educator. Linda is a retired winemaker, last working for RagApple Lassie Vineyards in NC and has been a winemaker for over 40 years. She is an internationally certified wine judge. Linda has a consulting business titled “Linda King Consulting, LLC” which specializes in winemaking, wine appreciation and wine education. A more than 30 year member of the American Wine Society, Linda has served on that Board and ran the AWS Wine Judge Certification Program, and was voted Most Outstanding National Member in 1993.

Matthew Kristofik is Past Chairman of the American Wine Society Commercial Wine
Competition. Matt initially became interested in wine while stationed in Vallejo, California in the
early 1960’s. A longtime member of the American Wine Society, he chaired the Society’s
Commercial Wine Competition for twenty years as well as the Pennsylvania Winery Association
Competition. He has consulted and chaired the implementation of several amateur wine
competitions in the Pittsburgh area. Matt is actively involved in wine education as well as pairing wine with food. In recent years, he has coordinated wine tours to the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina to introduce that area to friends and fellow oenophiles. Matt served in the US Navy Submarine Service as a nuclear power plant operator. On completion of service, he graduated from St. Vincent College receiving a BS in Biology. He recently retired after over 30 years in neurosurgical research focusing on the treatment of brain tumors.

Annemarie Morse has a master’s degree in enology from Cornell University. She has
worked in the wine industry for over 10 years in various capacities; an assistant winemaker, wine educator, judge, sales and consulting. She is the initiator and chairperson for the Finger Lakes Chapter of the American Wine Society, (AWS). Annemarie has completed the Court of Master Sommeliers, Introductory Course and Exam and is an AWS certified wine judge, having judged in the following competitions: Finger Lakes International, Winemaker Magazine, New York State Fair, Big E Northeast Gold, Great Lakes and Eastern States as well as judging panels for Cornell University research. She is a passionate wine educator, instructing Cornell students, faculty, staff, Alumni and the public on wine education, appreciation, winemaking, blending, judging, business meal etiquette, cooking with wine and wine & food pairing. She is a published freelance wine and food writer.

Ron Natalie is a AWS Certified Wine Judge. He also holds WSET level 3 certification and is
certified as an aficionado of wine by Robert Parker and Kevin Zraly. He is an AWS life member and chapter chair. Ron developed his love of wine after running a marathon in Bordeaux. He lives in North Carolina with his equally wine-crazed wife.

Kevin Ostrowski is a former high school chemistry, physics, and math teacher, and a
retired QA/QC utility executive. He is the current Chapter Chair of the American Wine Society’s
(AWS) Beaver County, PA, chapter. An AWS certified wine judge, Kevin is also a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) with the Society of Wine Educators, holds a Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 Award in Wine and Spirits (with Merit), and has completed level 1 Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers. He has enjoyed the privilege of judging many local and regional wine competitions. He will begin November 2019 as an Instructor for Wine Judge Certification Training Year 1 with the American Wine Society, and is an instructor of wine for Butler County Community College in Butler, PA. As a home wine maker, he has won several medals from both AWS and WineMaker magazine. Kevin Resides in Beaver, PA.

Nancy Slick is a long-term member of the American Wine Society and supporter of the
organization. She is a graduate of the Wine Judge Training Program and a Certified Wine Judge. Nancy also teaches in the program and has developed a specialty in ciders and meads in addition to wine. Additionally, she has presented many educational sessions on all aspects of wine and has judged in many competitions, both amateur and commercial. Nancy has worked many years in wine retail and is currently working in food service and enhancing and promoting their wine program. She has judged in many competitions, both amateur and commercial. Nancy resides in Maryland.

John Sporing is building on his passion for wine, travel and teaching, John founded A Life
Well Drunk. He regularly hosts bespoked wine tours around the world. Recently, these tours have included South Africa, Portugal, Argentina, as well as domestic destinations (California and Oregon). John holds certifications by the Society of Wine Educators (Certified Specialist of Wine), the Wine & Spirit Educational Trust (WSET Level 3), the Court of Master Sommeliers (Sommelier), the Sherry Regulatory Council (Certified Sherry Wine Specialist–Intermediate); and from the Center for Wine Origins (Wine Location Specialist).

Jeff Stabins is a Regional Vice President of the American Wine Society (AWS) and is an
AWS Certified Wine Judge. He is a Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Diploma
student. Jeff is also on the Board of Directors of the Raise a Glass Foundation and is Director
of the Great American Amateur Wine Competition. Jeff has enjoyed judging in many wine
competitions for 12 years.

Pat Valas is an American Wine Society Certified Judge as well as being an instructor for
the AWS wine judge training program and, from 1995 to the present, has judged in many
wine competitions, including the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, American
Wine Society Commercial and Amateurs Competitions, Winemaker Magazine’s Amateur
competition, the New Jersey Governor’s Cup, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, the
Pittsburgh AWS Regional Amateur Competition, the Maryland Wine Festival Amateur, Best
of Show Frederick County Fair Amateur, Montgomery County Fair Amateur and the
Maryland State Fair Amateur which included the Best of Show. Part of her early training
involved a summer job in the vineyards of G. Hamilton Mowbray in Westminster, MD
where she tied up vines and learned from this east coast master. She currently does freelance
wine consulting, wine writing and wine education. She holds a DeLong Century Club
certificate having tasted 100 different wine varietals and is close to her second 100. She
has traveled with the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine to various international
conferences and wine tastings in Provence, Bergerac, and Reims (Champagne) France;
Barcelona, Spain; Morges, Switzerland, London, England, Budapest, Hungary and most
recently Sonoma and Napa in Northern California. She especially enjoyed her Bordeaux
river cruise with Cooper Vineyard and explored Burgundy with them in Sept 2016 followed
by a Danube cruise with the AWS in spring 2017.

Anne Vercelli has worked with the Cloverdale Citrus Fair now called the San Francisco
Chronicle Wine Competition, since 1987, most recently as its Assistant Director. Anne is
responsible for assisting in overall planning, organizing and implementing all aspects of the
competition with primary responsibility for receiving, coding, and presenting the over 5,000 wines received each year. She is responsible for a staff of 100 volunteers.

Vercelli has worked as the Coordinator of the Professional Food Competitions of the Sonoma
County Harvest Fair since 1981. She has elevated the food competitions from 2 judgings to 10
judgings with entries increasing each year. She is responsible for 12 chef demonstrations duringthe Harvest Fair week-end. She is also a Professional Wine Judge having served on a judging panel for the International Women’s Wine Competition in Santa Rosa, California.
Anne has been an instructor since 1981 at Santa Rosa Junior College where she currently teaches 6 classes in Italian Cuisine in the Culinary Department. She also assists in the College’s Agricultural Department where she teaches Wine Service and Hospitality and Sonoma County Wine Appellations classes. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (C.I.A.) with an A.O.S degree. Upon graduation she received the Richard Keating award “Most Likely To Succeed”. She was also awarded the coveted position of “Fellowship” in the Escoffier Room at the C.I.A. Anne received her B.A. in Food and Nutrition from California State University, Sacramento.

2017 Competition Judges

Curtis Allred is a popular fixture in the Loudoun food and drink scene, having
managed Shoe’s, Cup & Cork, and Fireworks Pizza. Curtis is a certified Sommelier and
Cicerone (the beer equivalent) who cut his teeth in the Manhattan food scene before
working for a mix of fine dining and casual establishments in the greater DC area. He is
now the co-owner and general manager for Delirium Café in Leesburg, Virginia.

Rex Bambling lives in northern Virginia and belongs to the NoLoCo chapter of the
American Wine Society. Rex is the competition coordinator of the AWS national
competition. He is a graduate of the AWS Judge Training Program and is a Certified Wine
Judge. He also belongs to the Knights of the Vine. He and his wife enjoy judging wines in
local, regional, and national competitions.

Melissa Bartlett has a passion for wine, which led her to seek to a career at
Virginia’s favorite winery, Pearmund Cellars. She worked as one of the winery managers
and as the winery sommelier. She is a long-term member of the AWS and served for three
years as Chapter Chair for the John Marshall chapter in Virginia. Melissa is a Certified Judge
through the AWS Wine Judge Certification Program and a Certified Sommelier through the
International Wine Guild. Melissa is a free-lance wine consultant and educator.

Lauri Boetcher has been involved in the wine industry for 27 years and have been judging
wines for 20 years. Wine sensory classes through Penn State and regularly held tasting sessionsand discussions of wines from around the world have helped develop and fine tune her judging abilities. In addition, she enjoys being part of a Winemaker’s Roundtable which meets monthly to help identity both positive and off notes in wines before bottling to contribute toward a better end product for consumers. Judging experiences have ranged from state fair amateur wine competitions to major commercial wine competitions. Each new wine is a fresh experience!

Jennifer Crafts joined the American Wine Society (AWS) in 2002, and has been a
member of several of the AWS chapters in Virginia. She is a graduate of the AWS Wine
Judge Certification Program. She has judged commercial and amateur wine competitions
each year at local, state, and international competitions. Jennifer is a Gentle Lady of the
Nation’s Capital Chapter of the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine (KOV), and has
attended KOV international conferences in France and the U.S. She joined the Board of
Directors of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association in 2016. She travels internationally
with her husband to taste wines, and lives in Lovettsville, VA.

JoAnn DeGaglia is a Certified Specialist of Wine and a member of the Society of Wine
Educators as well as a Certified Advanced Sommelier earning both an American and Italian
Wine Specialist Degree from the North American Sommelier Assn with honors. She is a
popular Wine Educator and Associate Instructor at the Westchester Wine School in New
York and the North American Sommelier Association in Los Angeles. Earning her Wine
Judge Certification from the American Wine Society she has judged at numerous
competitions including the Finger Lakes International, Indy International, Texas Lone Star,
The Big E among others. She works part time at two of the Hudson Valleys great wine
destinations, Brotherhood, Americas Oldest Winery and the Wine Spectators award
winning Glenmere Mansion in Chester New York. She is a self-proclaimed wine disciple
who loves the people, the places and the wines of the world.

Jane Duralia has been a member of the American Wine Society (AWS) since 1992,
gradually learning about the many grape varietals. She became fascinated with wine
structure variability and how various wine making techniques and practices affect the
various result in a specific varietal characteristic and how it presents in the bottle.
Becoming more involved with AWS opened educational doors and she was thirsty for wine
knowledge from all parts of the world. Jane passed the introductory Sommelier course and
then followed up with the three year AWS certified Judge course, and is now a Certified
Wine Judge. After this she was hooked; knowing how to evaluate wines hence appreciating
them even more. Jane enjoys judging an average of 10 -14 competitions annually around
the country; Tasters’ Guild International, INDY International, Atlantic Seaboard, New York
State, Fair, NC State Fair, Wines of the South, and Mid-Atlantic Region Competition to name
a few.
Travelling extensively, arranging tasting and educational opportunities wherever we
visited, opened her wine horizons and enhanced her abilities to pair food and wine. The
uniqueness of dining as you travel abroad creates an appreciation for wine and food
pairing and a hunger for more knowledge. Jane’s travels include: Italy, Germany, Austria,
Spain, Portugal, Greece, South Africa, Croatia, France, and Hungary. Traveling to Canada
(Niagara on the Peninsula, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island)) Washington State (Yakima
Valley, Seattle), Oregon (Umpqua and Willamette Valley, and Hood River), California (from
Amador County down through Temecula and tasting rooms all along the way), New York –
Finger Lakes, Virginia (Mid Northern), North Carolina (Yakin Valley and beyond) and the
Northern Georgia Mountains.

Rege Duralia became intrigued with wine shortly after joining the American Wine
Society (AWS) in 1992. That association opened a door to amateur winemaking and
enrolling in Introduction to Winemaking, UC-Davis, a one semester long distance learning
course. He joined the Tasters Guild in 2002. Visits to wine growing regions of the world –
California, Oregon, Washington, North Carolina, Virginia, New York Finger Lakes, Ohio,
Michigan, Germany, Austria, Italy, Southern France, Hungary, Croatia, Canada, South Africa,
Spain, Portugal and Australia expanded his horizon of wine. These visits enabled him to
understand different grape growing and wine making methods as well as to learn firsthand
about wine varietal characteristics and stylistic differences influenced by terroir and
different winemaking techniques in the various growing regions. Rege became a Certified
Wine Judge in 2007 by successfully completing a three year course offered by the American
Wine Society and was recertified in 2012.
His judging career began in 2002 on Hilton Head Island for the Annual Wine Festival
Judging. Invitations to judge have come from the AWS Commercial and Amateur
competition, the Tasters Guild Consumer Judging and International Wine Judging, the South
Carolina State Fair, Atlantic Seaboard Competition, Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine
Competition, Wines of the South, New York State Fair and North Carolina State Fair.
What makes wine interesting is that there are many variable factors influencing its
production so that every opening of a bottle is a new adventure. It is the perfect beverage
for a meal any time of the day.

Andrew Hodson is currently the owner and CEO of Saddleback Farm LCC and Veritas
Vineyards and Winery in Afton, Virginia. His early training was in medicine and he holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from Bristol University in the United Kingdom. He is also a member of the Royal College of Physicians and a member of the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry. He retired from general practice in 2000 and moved from Florida to Afton, Virginia, where he purchased Saddleback Farm in 1999 and built the winery the following year and now has 52 acres under cultivation and produces about 14,000 cases of wine a year. He was the wine-maker from2000 to 2003. Currently his daughter Emily Pelton is the wine-maker, but he assists in the blending trials. He has been very active in the promotion of Virginia wine both in this country and aboard. He participates in several wine competitions every year and in the annual Virginia Wine Festival. He has attended and supported the Virginia Wine Experience in London in 2007 and later also the London International Wine Fair 2009-2013. He has worked with Governor McDonnell’s trade mission to the United Kingdom in July 2010 to promote Virginia wine. He currently holds the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits, is a Certified Specialist in Wine (CSW from the Society of Wine Educators, as well as a French Wine Scholar (FWS).

Linda King is a Certified International Wine Judge, Winemaker, Winery Consultant, and
Educator. Linda is a retired winemaker, last working for RagApple Lassie Vineyards in NC and has been a winemaker for over 40 years. She is an internationally certified wine judge. Linda has a consulting business titled “Linda King Consulting, LLC” which specializes in winemaking, wine appreciation and wine education. A more than 30 year member of the American Wine Society, Linda has served on that Board and ran the AWS Wine Judge Certification Program, and was voted Most Outstanding National Member in 1993.

Matthew Kristofik is Past Chairman of the American Wine Society Commercial Wine
Competition. Matt initially became interested in wine while stationed in Vallejo, California in the
early 1960’s. A longtime member of the American Wine Society, he chaired the Society’s
Commercial Wine Competition for twenty years as well as the Pennsylvania Winery Association
Competition. He has consulted and chaired the implementation of several amateur wine
competitions in the Pittsburgh area. Matt is actively involved in wine education as well as pairing wine with food. In recent years, he has coordinated wine tours to the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina to introduce that area to friends and fellow oenophiles. Matt served in the US Navy Submarine Service as a nuclear power plant operator. On completion of service, he graduated from St. Vincent College receiving a BS in Biology. He recently retired after over 30 years in neurosurgical research focusing on the treatment of brain tumors.

Kristen Lindelow is a graduate of the American Wine Society Wine Judge
Certification Program, and has been judging wine competitions across the U.S. for a number
of years, including the Denver International Wine Competition, Indy International, and
Wines of the South. She is currently a Regional Vice President for the American Wine
Society (AWS), a Trustee for the AWS Educational Foundation, and is employed by Church
Street Wine Shoppe in Huntsville, AL as Wine Educator. Kristen has also achieved
certification as a French Wine Scholar, a Certified Specialist of Wine, WSET II, and a
California Wine Appellation Specialist. She is currently studying for the Italian Wine
Specialist and Bourgogne Master exams. The most fun she has with wine is teaching and
now owns and runs the Tennessee Valley Wine Academy –for Wine education. Uncorked.
Mickey Parish completed his doctoral degree at North Carolina State University
many years ago where his dissertation research involved assessing yeast fermentations of
muscadine and hybrid wines. He annually judges the Florida State Fair International Wine
Competition in Tampa, the Wines of the South competition in Knoxville, and the Maryland
Governors Cup in Baltimore. He is a professional member of the American Society for
Enology and Viticulture, and the International Association for Food Protection in which he
serves as President for 2017-18. Mickey works at the Senior Science Advisor for the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in College
Park, MD.

Nancy Slick is a long-term member of the American Wine Society and supporter of the
organization. She is a graduate of the Wine Judge Training Program and a Certified Wine Judge. Nancy also teaches in the program and has developed a specialty in ciders and meads in addition to wine. Additionally, she has presented many educational sessions on all aspects of wine and has judged in many competitions, both amateur and commercial. Nancy has worked many years in wine retail and is currently working in food service and enhancing and promoting their wine program. She has judged in many competitions, both amateur and commercial. Nancy resides in Maryland.

Pat Valas is an American Wine Society Certified Judge as well as being an instructor for
the AWS wine judge training program and, from 1995 to the present, has judged in many
wine competitions, including the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, American
Wine Society Commercial and Amateurs Competitions, Winemaker Magazine’s Amateur
competition, the New Jersey Governor’s Cup, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, the
Pittsburgh AWS Regional Amateur Competition, the Maryland Wine Festival Amateur, Best
of Show Frederick County Fair Amateur, Montgomery County Fair Amateur and the
Maryland State Fair Amateur which included the Best of Show. Part of her early training
involved a summer job in the vineyards of G. Hamilton Mowbray in Westminster, MD
where she tied up vines and learned from this east coast master. She currently does freelance
wine consulting, wine writing and wine education. She holds a DeLong Century Club
certificate having tasted 100 different wine varietals and is close to her second 100. She
has traveled with the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine to various international
conferences and wine tastings in Provence, Bergerac, and Reims (Champagne) France;
Barcelona, Spain; Morges, Switzerland, London, England, Budapest, Hungary and most
recently Sonoma and Napa in Northern California. She especially enjoyed her Bordeaux
river cruise with Cooper Vineyard and explored Burgundy with them in Sept 2016 followed
by a Danube cruise with the AWS in spring 2017.

Anne Vercelli has worked with the Cloverdale Citrus Fair now called the San Francisco
Chronicle Wine Competition, since 1987, most recently as its Assistant Director. Anne is
responsible for assisting in overall planning, organizing and implementing all aspects of the
competition with primary responsibility for receiving, coding, and presenting the over 5,000 wines received each year. She is responsible for a staff of 100 volunteers.
Vercelli has worked as the Coordinator of the Professional Food Competitions of the Sonoma
County Harvest Fair since 1981. She has elevated the food competitions from 2 judgings to 10
judgings with entries increasing each year. She is responsible for 12 chef demonstrations during the Harvest Fair week-end. She is also a Professional Wine Judge having served on a judging panel for the International Women’s Wine Competition in Santa Rosa, California.
Anne has been an instructor since 1981 at Santa Rosa Junior College where she currently teaches 6 classes in Italian Cuisine in the Culinary Department. She also assists in the College’s Agricultural Department where she teaches Wine Service and Hospitality and Sonoma County Wine Appellations classes. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (C.I.A.) with an A.O.S degree. Upon graduation she received the Richard Keating award “Most Likely To Succeed”. She was also awarded the coveted position of “Fellowship” in the Escoffier Room at the C.I.A. Anne received her B.A. in Food and Nutrition from California State University, Sacramento.

Leanne Wheeler has been judging amateur and commercial wine competitions since 2010. She is a member of the American Wine Society (AWS) where she currently serves on the
Board of Directors. Leanne is an AWS Certified Wine Judge and teaches an introductory wine
course at the annual American Wine Society National Conference. Leanne has completed levels one and two of the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) program, passing both with
distinction. Ms. Wheeler is serves as the competition Director for the Amenti del Vino
International Wine Competition which is in its 24th year. She currently resides in South Windsor, Connecticut and enjoys traveling to wine regions to satiate her thirst for knowledge.