ASWA Board and Mission
The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association is a trade organization that promotes American wine produced in the seventeen eastern states: all those that touch the Atlantic Ocean plus West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
Our mission is to increase awareness of the fine wines of the Atlantic seaboard through trade and consumer education. We liaise with national, state, and regional wine organizations to identify opportunities to highlight the wines and winemakers working here. “Sampling is the best approach to bringing attention to the quality of wines produced in the East,” says Association President Grant Crandall.
While many people are acquainted with the top producers of their home states, ASWA’s modus operandi is to showcase a wide variety of the region’s wines, as many as 48 per tasting. This serves to illustrate the breadth of quality across states and terroirs; vinifera, hybrid, and native American grapes; and styles unique to winemakers experimenting in this relatively young region.
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 is held in late summer and judged by a panel of professionals hailing from all parts of the country including California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia and more.
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.
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.
ASWA’s additional awards include the Monteith Wine Bowl Trophy, presented to individuals or organizations that have made exceptional contributions to the development and sustainability of the American wine industry; the Wine Grape Productivity Tray which, since 1984, is awarded to an individual or organization that has made major contributions to the sustainable growth and economic viability of the American wine industry; and the Birchenall Award, the newest ASWA recognition, given to a member of the wine media for drawing attention to the East Coast wine industry. It is named for former ASWA Board Member Michael Birchenall acknowledging his many contributions to the coverage of the East Coast wine and food industries.
In addition to conducting tastings, seminars, and media events around the country, ASWA also organizes the Virginia Wine Festival, the longest-running consumer wine show in the Commonwealth of Virginia, founded in 1975.
ASWA board members look forward to learning of new opportunities to promote and showcase the wines of our region. Contact us with ideas for college or university presentations, conferences, trade or consumer samplings, webinars, benefit tastings, and media events.
To become a member of the association, wineries need simply take part in our wine competition or in the Virginia Wine Festival. Regardless of participation, our educational and promotional efforts encompass the full scope of East Coast wine production.
ASWA Board Members, Honorary Members and Founding Members
Board of Directors
|After decades of interest in promoting recognition of the development of top quality wines on the East Coast including several years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association, Grant Crandall became First Vice President of the ASWA in 2013 and then President in 2016. He has been active in a number of wine organizations and has given a large number of presentations on a wide range of topics on wine nationally and internationally. After participation in the Wine Judge Training Program of the American Wine Society, he judges in a number of wine competitions. A former Rhodes Scholar, he retired after more than forty years as an attorney, having been the managing partner of a regional law firm and then General Counsel of the United Mine Workers of America. He is fortunate enough to have a wonderful wife, Angela, who actively supports their wine interests including work with the ASWA.|
1st Vice President
|Fletcher Henderson has more than 20 years of experience of work in the wine industry. He is a winemaker with six vintages experience.. Prior to becoming a winemaker he was employed by wine distribution/ import companies. He developed a specialty in Spanish wines and spent many years both employed by import companies and as an independent broker traveling to Spain to source wines. He has been a Vice President of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association since 2015. Prior to his experiences in the wine industry, he was in the fields of construction, commercial diving, and commercial fishing.|
2nd Vice President
|Mike Wassenberg has served as the Vice President of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association (ASWA) since 2016, is a member of several chapters of the American Wine Society (AWS) and Vice President of the John Marshall Chapter. He is also a member of the German Wine Society and Knights of the Vine. As an AWS Certified Wine Judge, he enjoys participating in several of the local, regional and National competitions as well as co-chairing the annual AWS Commercial Wine Competition. He is a partner in three Virginia wineries and one cidery/winery with his nephew in Kansas. He holds the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Diploma, French and Italian Wine Scholar as well as a Certified Wine Specialist and Spirits Specialist from the Society of Wine Educators. He received an MBA from Northeastern University and a Distilling, Wine and Brewing Science certificate from the University of Kentucky. He retired from 40 years in the Information Technology business in 2019 and continues to enjoy cycling, sailing and trekking around the world.|
|Walter Rachele had an early love of wine and has been actively engaged with wine in several capacities. He was a founding member (1988) of the Nation’s Capital Chapter of the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine, an international organization with chapters in the United States. He is a long standing member of the American Wine Society(1984) where he graduated from the Wine Judge Certification Program (1994) and returned to it as an instructor where he continues to be active. Walt has served on the AWS Board of Directors. As Board member of the AWS Educational Foundation his wine knowledge grows from communication with the graduate students being awarded scholarships. He also served as the Chapter Chairman of the Carroll County AWS Chapter from 2000-2001 before moving to Virginia. He participated as a judge in several competitions such as Maryland Governor’s Cup, the New Jersey Governor’s Cup and the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, as well as in several local county festivals at both the commercial and amateur levels. He has traveled extensively to increase his wine knowledge and has visited Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, France, England, Hungary and Serbia. He currently resides in Northern Virginia.
Walter holds a Master’s in Business Management; spent over 35 years in various positions In accounting & finance. Positions include CFO of importer (industrial machines), accountant at Virginia Imports (wine and beer), several non-profits including Red Cross and Catholic Charities, banking, manufacturing and consulting firms.
|David A. Barber|
Secretary & Competition Chairman
|Dave Barber is a member of the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association (ASWA), where he serves as Secretary as well as the Competition Chairman and has chaired or co-chaired the annual Wine Competition for over 15 years. He is a long-term member of the American Wine Society (AWS) and is a graduate and Certified Wine Judge from the AWS Wine Judge Training Program, within which he also instructs, mentors students, and administers the final examination. The AWS also recognized him as its ‘Outstanding Member’ in 2011. He has presented innumerable wine seminars on various topics and has judged in many wine competitions, as well as having written numerous articles that have been published in various wine magazines. He currently works with various Virginia wineries in their tasting rooms and also at various festivals. Dave also enjoys traveling and has visited numerous wine areas on three continents and has been inducted into several wine brotherhoods in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Serbia, Switzerland, and Hungary as well as being a Master Knight within the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine of America where he also serves as the Provost General of the Northeastern United States.|
|Jennifer Crafts has been a member of the American Wine Society (AWS) for 20 years, in multiple local chapters of the northern Virginia area. She currently serves as the chairperson for the Northern Loudoun County (NoLoCo) AWS chapter. As an AWS Certified Wine Judge, she has judged commercial and amateur wines at local, state, and international competitions. She is a former member of the National Capital area chapter of the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine (KOV), and has attended KOV international conferences. She travels to wine regions in the U.S. and internationally with her husband to taste wines and increase her wine knowledge.
Her graduate degrees are in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. She took early retirement in 2021 after 30 years of applied qualitative research work, as a Senior Study Director at Westat, in Rockville, MD and as a Senior Research Scientist at the American Institutes for Research in Washington, DC.
|Terri Newman-Hyde has served as President of the King George Chapter of the American Wine Society for over five years and served as Secretary for three years. As a serious student of wine, she has passed WSET II certification and is working on achieving the CSW certification. She has an extensive background working in the Virginia wine industry, beginning with time spent in the tasting room at Ingleside Vineyards, where she was approached to establish the tasting room at General’s Ridge Vineyard. She serves as the representative for the winery on the board of the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail and is an avid advocate of local wine. She participates in numerous virtual wine tastings as @NNKWineDiva as well as pouring and serving as sommelier at various local wine events and wine dinners. Terri currently works as a contractor, in support of a government contract, however her true passion is in wine.|
|After falling in love with a Nuits-St-Georges in a cellar in Burgundy, Mary Ann Dancisin made the decision to choose wine as her career. She returned to New York to work with a well-respected fine wine importer. Over the course of two decades, she held positions in Marketing, Graphic Design/Content Management, and Administration promoting brands such as Taittinger Champagne, Louis Jadot Burgundies, Taylor Fladgate Ports, and Cakebread Cellars.
With her move to Virginia in 2006, Mary Ann began to explore the burgeoning Virginia wine scene. She felt the time was right for the wines of the eastern US to take a more prominent place in world wine discussions and took on the role of writer and editor for the Virginia Wine Gazette, where she initiated its online publication. As a consultant, she wrote original content for area wineries for both online and print, created “key influencer” campaigns, and organized wine and food festivals. Her articles on Virgnia wine have appeared in Flavor Magazine, Olde Towne Crier, The Fauquier Times-Democrat, and InFauquier. She is also a contributor to the Virginia Wine in My Pocket app.
From 2012 through 2017, she learned the retail side of the business as General Manager at a family-run winery in Rappahannock County. Over five years, she oversaw the winery’s growth, utilizing her background in wine education, marketing, graphics and financial management.
Now a resident of Florida, Mary Ann has collaborated with the executive chef and food & beverage team at a private club to bring outstanding wine and food pairings to the membership. She continues to write on Virginia wines and has a regular wine/recipe column in Fauquier Magazine. Her consultant business, Effective Communications Solutions, is accepting new clients in the fields of wine, food and travel.
Mary Ann is a long-standing member of the Society of Wine Educators, holding the Certified Specialist of Wine credential, and has achieved the WSET Level 2 Diploma With Distinction
|Carl has been with the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association (ASWA) (formerly the Vinifera Wine Growers Association (VWGA)), a trade group that helps promote the wine industry since 2001. He was President from 2008 to early 2016 and is currently President Emeritus. He has served as Chairman of the ASWA Wine Competitions 2005-2015. He is also a past President of the Washington, DC Chapter of the German Wine Society. Carl is a longstanding member of the American Wine Society (AWS) and a graduate of the AWS wine judge program. He was the AWS Regional Vice President for Virginia from 1997-2017 where he assisted in the formation of new chapters and supported current chapters. He is also a founding member (1988) of the Nation’s Capital Chapter of the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine (KOV), an international wine organization in which he holds the cadre title of Charge d’Affaires. He has been an active member of the Dionysian International Wine Society since 2002. He was a member of the Society of Wine Educators from 1985 to 2008; further, he is a graduate of courses at the Austrian Wine Academy (Rust-1998) and the German Wine Academy (Geisenheim-1999). He is an honorary member of a number of international wine organizations: the Slovenian Knighthood of Wines (Ljubljana-2003); the Confraria del Cava Sant Sadurni (Barcelona-2006); the Federation Suisse des Confreries Bachiques et Gastronomiques (Morges-2007); the Wine Guild of the United Kingdom (London-2008); the Confrerie Vinum Regum Rex Vinorum de Tokaj (2010) and the Serbian Wine Brotherhood (Belgrade-2012).
Carl has participated as a judge in a number of annual wine competitions, specifically, the AWS commercial and amateur competitions (2000-2011); the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Farm Winery competitions; the former VWGA Virginia competition (2002/2003); the San Francisco Chronicle competition in Cloverdale, CA (2001-2020); the Wines of the South competition in Knoxville, TN (2004 & 2011); the New York Finger Lakes International Competition in Rochester, NY (2006/2008/2010-2012); the Grand Harvest ( 2012); and the Sonoma County Harvest Fair Wine Competition (2007-2009 & 2011-2019), U,S. National Wine Competition (2013) and the International East Meets West (2014 & 2016 and the Lake County Wine Competition ( 2015 & 2016).
Carl has traveled extensively to wine regions in the United States, and has visited wine areas in Western and Eastern Europe, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.
Wine Traditions Ltd.
|Edward Addiss is the President of Wine Traditions Ltd., an importing company that specializes in the wines of France. Wine Traditions was started in 1996 by Ed and his wife, Barbara Selig, and is located in Falls Church, Virginia. Prior to starting Wine Traditions, he worked with different companies in the wine trade beginning in 1979, including retailers and importers in New York City and then spent eleven years with the San Francisco Wine Exchange where he introduced new and little known California wineries to the East Coast. He is a graduate of the Berklee School of Music in Boston and has a degree in composition. He has been a judge for numerous East Coast wine competitions and serves on the Board of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association.|
|Tom Payette is a winemaker and winemaking consultant with a degree in Food Science Technology. Tom has consulted on 30+ vintages on the East Coast as well as assisting for ten+ custom crush vintages in the Napa Valley. He is an expert in avoiding costly pitfalls, nurturing new winemakers, assisting new winery start-ups from concept to construction and on to bottling. He is also helpful with getting your new wines to the consumer. Tom has helped set up more than 65 wineries to date and he has assisted expanding numerous others. Winemakingconsultant.com|
National Association of Beverage Importers
|William T. Earle is past President of the National Association of Beverage Importers (NABI). He retired from a 33-year career with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in July 2004. He left ATF after serving seven years as Assistant Director and Chief Financial Officer. In July 2008 he received the ATF’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Prior to joining NABI Mr. Earle served as the Chairman of the Code Compliance Review Board, a third party review process established by the Beer Institute. He served on the 13th term of the Customs and Border Protection Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations. He was the only representative of the beverage alcohol industry to COAC. He was responsible for national beverage alcohol regulatory and tax policy for a significant portion of his time as an executive at ATF. He is a graduate of Rutgers University and attended Brooklyn Law School. He earned his MBA at Southern Illinois University with a specialty in finance.|
CEO – A Life Well Drunk
|John is the CEO and chief taster of A Life Well Drunk, a wine education and tourism company. He holds an Advanced Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust of London and holds the titles of Certified Specialist of Wine from the Society of Wine Educators and Sommelier from the Guild of Sommeliers. In addition, he is a Sake Ambassador and an Intermediate Certified Sherry Wine Specialist from the Consejo Regulador of D.O. Jerez-Xérès-Sherry.
A Life Well Drunk offers a wide range of wine experiences, from fun and educational tastings at home, to unique, small-group, bespoke trips to the world’s wine regions. In 2020, he created the show WineUncensored which features winemakers from around the globe. To date, he has produced over 60 episodes.
In addition, John sits on the National Education Committee of the American Wine Society where he is helping to develop and deliver new wine education content to their membership. He is the Executive Director of the North American Regional Science Council, where he oversees the logistics and planning of annual conferences across North America.
Winemaker at Glenora Wine Cellars
|Steve DiFrancesco is Winemaker for Glenora Wine Cellars and Knapp Winery in the Finger Lakes of New York. During college, Steve became fascinated with wine while working in a restaurant that was known for its excellent wine selection. The restaurant owner retired while Steve was there and he became the wine specialist for the establishment. After Steve graduated with a BS in Plant Science from Stetson University, he moved to the Finger Lakes and has since enjoyed over 40 harvests, and many gallons of wine have passed under his nose.
Steve worked with Guy DeVaux and Charles Fournier at Gold Seal Vineyards, with their excellent sparkling wines, from the late ‘70’s to the mid ‘80’s. He then worked with high quality barrel aged red hybrids at Bully Hill Vineyards. Steve was an assistant winemaker at Glenora in the late ‘80’s, as part of an ambitious expansion program with an emphasis on Sparkling Wines. Steve became winemaker at Lucas Vineyards in the early 90’s, and helped expand production in high quality still and sparkling wines. Steve returned to Glenora in 1995 as winemaker and has helped expand their reputation and production. In 2000 the owners of Glenora purchased Knapp Winery, and Steve is responsible for winemaking at both properties. Riesling is at the forefront of production, along with other aromatic white viniferas, sparkling wines, and red viniferas, as well as hybrids and natives.
Previous Partner The Winery at La Grange
|Bob Moe started Moe Technologies in 2001 and manages over 150 websites, providing web development, search engine optimization (SEO), website hosting and maintenance. He is active in local Chambers in the Northern Virginia area and on the Board of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association, Haymarket/Gainesville Business Association and Fauquier County Pickleball Association.|
West Coast Representative
|Anne Vercelli is the Assistant Director of the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest competition of American wine in the world. Vercelli has coordinated the Professional Food Judgings of the Sonoma County Harvest Fair since 1987. Anne is a Professional Wine Judge having served on judging panels for the International Women’s Competition, East Meets West Competition, and the ASWA Competition. She is a Culinary Institute of America graduate and has been teaching Italian Cooking and Wine Classes at Santa Rosa Junior College since 1981. She was in restaurant management for seven years in the San Francisco Bay Area.|
Founding Members in Memoriam
|Juanita Swedenburg —- June 9, 2007
Juanita Swedenburg Memorial Viticultural
and Enological Educational Fund
ASWA, P.O. Box 10045, Alexandria, VA 22310
|Gordon Murchie —- October 2, 1932 – March 16, 2019
Founding Member and President Emeritus
M.A. Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, retired Foreign Service Officer with multiple international postings, 1958-1993, board member Vinifera Wine Growers Association 1985, president VWGA 1989-2007, president and board member Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association, 2008. Former executive director Virginia Wineries Association, board member Virginia Wine Council, executive director National Wine Coalition, 1993-1996, executive director Licensed Beverage Information Council, national and international U.S. wine history lecturer, has judged in both state and national wine competitions. Also, served as wine consultant to George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 1997. Supreme Knight, Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine. Selected “Person of the Year” 1998 and “Lifetime Achievement Cup” Virginia wine industry 2005, “Award of Merit” American Wine Society 2011 and special George Washington bronze bust award 2016. Wife, Anita, served as editor VWGA Wine Exchange newsletter and executive secretary and board member for most of Gordon’s wine industry affiliations over 25-year period. The Murchies were selected to lead People to People wine tours to China ‘96, South Africa ‘97 and Australia ‘99.
To the Virginia Tech Foundation, c/o Dr. Bruce Zoecklein, Food Science and Technology Building, Virginia Tech, Duck Pond Road, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0428
- Promoting general public wine education and appreciation.
- Promoting consumer public wine enjoyment and responsible moderate consumption as part of a healthy life style.
- Supporting state, national, and international wine educational forums and research.
- Supporting state and national production of quality wine and the marketability of American wines.
- Vigorously supporting state and federal legislation thats favorable to growth and economic viability of the U.S. wine industry.
- Strengthening cooperation with other wine organizations in addressing wine issues of common concern.