The Board of Directors of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association is pleased to announce the 2020 recipients of its Monteith Wine Bowl Trophy, Wine Grape Productivity Tray, and Birchenall Award. These awards are presented annually for excellence in increasing the quality of wine produced on the East Coast.
The 2020 Monteith Bowl Trophy, which is presented annually by the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association to recognize individuals or organizations that have performed exceptional contributions to the development and sustainability of the American wine industry, is being presented to Ann Raffetto, of Wagner Vineyards. She attended University of California, Davis and graduated with a degree in Enology in 1977. After graduating from UC Davis, Ann and her husband moved to the Finger Lakes to explore viticulture and enology in a region very different than California. At the time of their move there were only about seven wineries in the Finger Lakes region. In 1983, she accepted a winemaking position at Wagner with co-winemaker, John Herbert, and worked with him until his retirement in 2013. Notably, Ann was the first woman winemaker in the Finger Lakes. For Ann, the most rewarding part of her job is being in a restaurant or wine shop and witnessing people enjoying the work of art she has created. The ASWA honors Ann with the Monteith Bowl Trophy for her contributions to cool climate winemaking.
The 2020 Wine Grape Productivity Tray, which is presented annually by ASWA to an individual or organization that has made major contributions to the sustainable growth and viability of the American wine industry, is Deirdre Heekin, of La garagista Farm and Winery, Barnard, VT. Deirdre is a winegrower, former restaurant owner, author of the book of ‘The Unlikely Vineyard: The Education of a Farmer and Her Quest for Terroir’, and mentor to aspiring winegrowers. She and her husband are farming hybrid grapes with no additions and subtractions. They are also producing ciders in conjunction with cidery’s like Eden Cellars. Deirdre is a three-time James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Wine Producer (2018, 2019 and 2020), was named one of the five “rule-breaking winemakers to know” by Food & Wine magazine 2017, a finalist for Wine Enthusiast’s Winemaker of the Year 2017, and one of Imbibe Magazine’s 75 People to Watch 2018. Her passion and tireless efforts to focus on lesser known hybrid grapes and to farm responsibly and conscientiously and her contributions to East Coast winegrowing and winemaking have earned her the ASWA’s 2020 Wine Grape Productivity Tray.
The 2020 Birchenall Award, which is presented by the ASWA to members of the wine media is being presented to Julia Coney. Julia Coney is a Washington, D.C.-based wine and travel writer, educator, and consultant. Her wine writing includes stories on wine and winemakers, personal essays, and the intersection of race and wine. She holds a WSET Level Two Certification in Wine and Spirits and is currently pursuing her Master Level Champagne Certification with the Wine Scholar Guild. Her work has been featured in VinePair, Food & Wine Magazine, Plate Magazine, The Tasting Panel, Wine Enthusiast, and many other publication. She has advocated for diversity and inclusion across the wine industry through her writing and participation in conference panels. In 2020, she helped create Black Wine Professionals, a database tool intended to increase diversity in the industry and was recently named the 2020 Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards Social Visionary of the Year. The Birchnell Award, in the past has been awarded for wine media specific to East Coast Wines. This year, however, the ASWA felt that Julia Coney’s voice raising the issue of lack of diversity in all areas of the wine industry to be so compelling that it felt that this award should be bestowed upon her.
The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association promotes American wine produced in the seventeen eastern states: all those that touch the Atlantic Ocean plus West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Vermont. This trade organization was founded in 1973 as the Vinifera Wine Growers Association, and renamed in 2008 to reflect an expanded regional focus.
ASWA’s mission is to increase awareness of the fine wines of the Atlantic seaboard through trade and consumer education. Members liaise with national, state, and regional wine organizations to identify opportunities to highlight the wines and winemakers working here.