Friday, November 07, 2008

Maryland Wine Association Celebrates 25 Years

Maryland's wine and commercial grape industry members gathered on November 3, 2008 to celebrate the Maryland Wineries Association's 25th Anniversary, and to honor special guests.

Nearly 100 winery proprietors, commercial grape growers and guests enjoyed dinner, tasting each others' wines and talking about the progress the industry has made over the last 25 years.

Many of the founding members of the Wineries Association were on-hand to discuss the challenges they faced during the formative years of the industry. The industry's newcomers were treated to tastings from library wines from wineries present and past—including early bottlings of Catoctin Winery and Byrd Vineyards.

MWA Executive Director Kevin Atticks presented "Friend of the Industry" awards to four individuals and "The Gnarled Vine Award" to a couple who has had a major impact in the Maryland wine/grape industry.

MWA "Friend of the Industry" recipients
Steve McHenry, Maryland Agricultural & Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO): For developing vineyard installation and winery/vineyard equipment loans; for funding important industry projects.

Jack Steinmetz, Kent County Economic Development: For encouraging the growth of the industry in Kent Co.
For developing loan fund for county growers; for spearheading and organizing the development of a Vineyard Management Company study and workshops.

Hudson Cattell and Linda Jones McKee: For their service to the industry in the creation of Wine East Magazine and for their abundant enthusiasm for East Coast wine, and their faith in our ability to compete in the global wine market.

"The Gnarled Vine Award" Presented to Jack & Emily Johnston, Copernica Vineyard
This Gnarled Vine award honors a couple… a couple who has been at a driving force in developing our industry over the last 25 years. Although they are self-proclaimed “behind the scenes” people, these two very individual people have been vital to the growth of the Maryland Wine Industry.

Together they grow about six acres of the state’s most acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. As eternal leaders in the Maryland Grape Growers Association, he manages and she edits the MGGA’s Grapevine quarterly newsletter.

They have been cornerstones of the wine appreciation movement, founding the Carroll County Chapter of the American Wine Society in 1980. They have managed the wine education program at the Maryland Wine Festival since its very beginning in 1984. The recipients of the Gnarled Vine award are Emily and Jack Johnston of Copernica Vineyard.

Woodhall Wine Cellars proprietor Al Copp raised a toast to MWA and to the wine and grape industry offering support for the industry's accomplishments and looking forward to many more years of prosperous growth.