Awards are great!

Giving them is a show of appreciation for the efforts of others, who have passionately strived for what they believe.

I know one of the greatest achievements of my wine career was nominating Jim Concannon of Concannon Vineyard for an award at the California State Fair a few years ago… It was for their annual Agriculturalist of the Year award. I nominated Jim because I know that the famous Cabernet Sauvignon Clones 7, 8, and 11 (that pervasively planted all of wine country in the 1970s – and today, including Napa Valley) are the Concannon Clones 7, 8, and 11.

Jim Concannon’s additional efforts to varietally label Petite Sirah for the first time in 1964 with a 1961 vintage is another leadership role. I wanted Jim to get the recognition he deserved, and I worked for many, many hours putting my nomination together for him. It was done so thoroughly that the California State Fair decided to give him a lifetime achievement award, instead. To be there supporting him, in this greatest hour for his achievements, meant a lot to me. When Jim accepted his award, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Recently, I got an announcement for the upcoming Wine Enthusiast Awards, and the line up is a who’s who in the wine world. I decided to list the candidates, in order to give each person and/or company one more place on the world wide web, because they’re so deserving.

Wine Enthusiast has done a great job of gathering the best and the brightest stars. Enjoy, as these are some of our best leaders. From Wine Enthusiast.

From Adam Strum, editor and publisher of Wine Enthusiast Magazine:

“Our 10th year awards ceremony may very well be the most exciting of all, with nominees from all corners of the globe who show that innovation and tradition can indeed be paired. We take special pride also in honoring the leading distributors in the country at this event. These are people whose tireless efforts to spread the word about the value of wine as a part of everyday life have led to increased understanding and appreciation of wine in restaurants and retail shops, which in turn have helped America become a great wine-drinking nation.

“Wine Enthusiast Magazine, celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Wine Star Awards, takes great pleasure in announcing the 50 nominees for its wine and spirits awards. The awards recognize excellence on all levels of the industry, from producing premium wines and spirits to marketing and distributing them. Brief descriptions of these nominees will appear in the November issue of the magazine, published on October 5th, while the winners of each category will be announced and presented in-depth in the December 15 issue, published the beginning of November.

“This year’s award dinner will also feature a special tribute to the “Pioneers of Distribution,” honoring the companies that helped build awareness and appreciation of wine in America over the past 76 years.

“All award recipients will be honored at the annual Wine Star Awards gala dinner on Monday, January 25, 2010 at the New York Public Library in New York City.”

Person of the Year

  1. Ted Baseler (Ste. Michelle Wine Estates)
  2. Mariann Fischer Boel (European Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development)
  3. Nicolas Catena (Catena Zapata, Argentina)
  4. Bill Foley II (Foley Estates)
  5. Christian Moueix (Etablissements Jean-Pierre Moueix, France; Dominus, Napa)

American Winery of the Year

  1. Dr. Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars and Chateau Frank (Finger Lakes, NY)
  2. Leonetti Cellar (Walla Walla, Washington)
  3. Ponzi Vineyards (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
  4. Rodney Strong Vineyards (Sonoma, California)
  5. Trinchero Family Estates (Napa, California)

European Winery of the Year

  1. Bouchard Pére et Fils (France)
  2. Livio Felluga (Italy)
  3. Mezzacorona (Italy)
  4. The Royal Tokaji Wine Company (Hungary)
  5. Sierra Cantabria (Spain)

New World Winery of the Year

  1. Bodega Catena Zapata (Argentina)
  2. d’Arenberg (Australia)
  3. Jackson-Triggs Vintners (Canada)
  4. VSPT (Chile)
  5. Yalumba (Australia)

Importer of the Year

  1. Dalla Terra
  2. Frederick Wildman
  3. Jorge Ordoñez/Fine Estates From Spain
  4. Kermit Lynch
  5. Winebow

Winemaker of the Year

  1. João Nicolau de Almeida, Ramos Pinto (Portugal)
  2. Roberto de la Mota (Argentina)
  3. Ben Glaetzer, Glaetzer Wines (Australia)
  4. Ernst Loosen, Dr. Loosen (Germany)
  5. Scott McLeod, Rubicon (California)

Wine Region of the Year

  1. Champagne (France)
  2. Rhône Valley (France)
  3. Russian River Valley (California)
  4. Stellenbosch (South Africa)
  5. Valpolicella (Italy)

Distiller of the Year

  1. St. Germain (Robert Cooper) / Domaine de Canton (John Cooper)
  2. Hangar One
  3. Hendrick’s Gin
  4. Martell Cognac
  5. Partida Tequila

Retailer of the Year

  1. Andronico’s Markets (Northern California)
  2. Best Cellars at A&P (Eastern US)
  3. Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit (New York)
  4. Trader Joe’s (throughout US)
  5. Wine Exchange (Southern California)

Innovator of the Year

  1. Jim Koch, Samuel Adams (Boston)
  2. José Manuel Ortega, O. Fournier (Spain, Chile, Argentina)
  3. Audrey Saunders, Pegu Club (New York)
  4. Gary Vaynerchuk, Wine Library (New Jersey)
  5. The Wine Group (Boston)

Special Lifetime Achievement Award for 2009

  • Harvey Chaplin

Congratulations to all of you!

For additional information about the 2009 Wine Star Awards contact: Aileen Robbins, 212/929-7700 ~ arobbins[@]