Award for Exceptional Contributions to the American Wine Industry Bestowed by the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association
2022, November 29 – Preserving a legacy and carrying on the family traditions of innovation and experimentation, Fred Frank is a force in New York winemaking. Since 1993, he has headed Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery in Hammondsport, building on his grandfather’s achievement in making the Finger Lakes a region known to produce world-class wines. The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association is proud to honor Mr. Frank with its Monteith Trophy 2023.
Fred gained valuable vineyard experience working alongside Konstantin Frank as a child, but his family insisted he receive formal training and real world experience before joining the family business. Upon graduating from Cornell, Mr. Frank worked in sales for Banfi Vintners before attending Geisenheim Research Institute for Viticulture and Enology in West Germany. When he returned he served as managing director at Banfi’s Old Brookville Vineyard.
Fred’s interest in German varietals did not wain with the years. He recently purchased 90 acres east of Seneca Lake (known as the banana belt) and is currently evaluating where the best sites and soils are for the cultivation of gruner veltliner and blaufrankishch, among others.
Mr. Frank’s deep involvement in enology education is expressed in his continuing support of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). He has served two terms on the Dean’s Advisory Council, is a member of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Leadership Society, and has served as a member of the advisory council for the New York State Agricultural Station. Fred was a district director of the CALS Alumni Association and in 2010 was named an Outstanding Alumni. In addition, Fred hosts an international intern program at the winery.
Sparkling wine from upstate New York is one of many projects championed by Fred Frank. He believes with a climate closer to Champagne’s than is California’s, sparkling wine from the Finger Lakes stand among the world’s finest. The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association concurs: Dr. Konstantin Frank Celebre NV and Brut 2017 have received the highest awards in the Association’s annual wine competitions. With seven offerings of fine sparklers, Fred Frank continues to grow the program.
Fred also introduced a value line called “Salmon Run” using grapes sourced from local farms around the Finger Lakes. The Georgian varieties Rkatsiteli and Saperavi have long been grown on the property, originally planted by Konstantin Frank himself. Fred is delighted that wine drinkers are growing in their appreciation of these grapes.
Fred Frank travels extensively educating consumers and wine professionals about the Finger Lakes region and East Coast grape varietals. He is a perennial speaker at the American Wine Society Conference.
As the third generation winemaker, Fred Frank has actively encouraged his daughter Meaghan to participate in the family business. He is delighted with her engagement and enthusiasm to carry on in her great-grandfather’s footsteps.
The perpetual sterling silver Monteith Trophy is one of the most elegant awards in the U.S. wine industry. Weighing in at 123 ounces of pure sterling silver, the bowl was created in 1980 by Tiffany & Co. for the Vinifera Wine Growers Association (now the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association). As early as 1689, designs similar to the Monteith were used in the service of wine in England. Smaller versions used by George Washington are on display in the Mount Vernon dining room.
ASWA presents the trophy to individuals or organizations that have made exceptional contributions to the development and sustainability of the American wine industry by actively providing leadership and motivation, in addressing both legislative and regulatory issues, supporting innovative and technical research, encouraging wine and health related studies, and contributing to consumer education and appreciation through the arts, literature and the media.
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.