Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association Presents 39th Annual Trophy
November 14th – Located in Amissville, Virginia, on what was previously a horse farm, Al and Cheryl Kellert of Gray Ghost Vineyards planted their first vines in 1986.The Kellerts were early pioneers in the emerging Virginia wine scene that began in the late 1970’s. The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association is proud to acknowledge their work with the 2023 Wine Grape Productivity Award.
Appointed in the late 1990’s, Al Kellert served on the Virginia Winegrowers Advisory Board, a unit of the Department of Agriculture created to contract research to improve viticultural and enological practices in the Virginia wine industry, promote education about and appreciation for Virginia wine, and disseminate information on wine and viticultural topics.
Cheryl Kellert has served as Treasurer and Board Member of the Virginia Vineyards Association. The VVA is a nonprofit organization that brings together commercial grape growers, winemakers, researchers and educators to advance viticulture in Virginia. In 2011, Cheryl was presented a certificate “for her vast achievements, leadership in the community, and character and dedication as a Woman in Business in the Commonwealth of Virginia” at the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond celebrating women in business.
The Kellerts have worked with Virginia Tech, the Commonwealth’s leading source of grapegrowing education, research, and information, on studies of the grape berry moth and weed control systems seeking alternatives to herbicides. They are happy to open their vineyards to VA Tech extension courses.
Cheryl and Al Kellert are frequent speakers at trade conferences such as Wineries Unlimited. As featured presenters at national events sponsored by the American Wine Society, they have criss-crossed the country – Winston-Salem, Cincinnati, Sacramento and Concord, North Carolina – providing insights into grape growing and marketing the product.
The Kellert family is known for its steadfast support of the local community. Second and third generations are dedicated to following Al and Cheryl’s example at both the vineyard and winery, and in their philanthropic endeavors.
The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association’s Wine Grape Productivity Award is a Sheffield silver piece in the style of a classic champagne serving tray with a full border of bas-relief grape and vine patterns. The logo of the Vinifera Wine Growers Association, precursor to the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association, now incorporated into the ASWA’s logo, is engraved in the center of the tray. Past awardees include Anna Katharine Mansfield, Associate Professor of Enology at Cornell AgriTech; Thomas Costentino, Executive Director of the Garden State Winegrowers Association; Douglas P. Moorhead, Presque Isle Wine Cellars, Pennsylvania, and 30+ others since the award’s inception.
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.