About Us ~ History
American Wine Society Mission: To promote the appreciation of wine through education
The American Wine Society was organized in 1967 as a non-profit, educational, consumer-oriented organization for those interested in learning more about all aspects of wine. On October 7, 1967, around 200 grape growers, home winemakers, and wine lovers gathered at Dr. Konstantin Frank’s vineyard on Keuka Lake near Hammondsport, NY for the AWS’ initial meeting. In December of the same year, the thirteen charter members, led by Founder Dr. Konstantin Frank, met to determine the organization structure of AWS and elect officers. Now in its 47th year, the American Wine Society is the largest consumer based wine education organization in North America. Membership is open to anyone interested in wine and over 21 years of age.
In the early days, AWS members were located primarily in the eastern part of the country. As the society grew , we established chapters throughout the eastern U.S., then into the south and Midwest, and finally into western states. Today, the American Wine Society has over 4,000 members in 45 states and 120 chapters across the U.S.
The emphasis of AWS also evolved through the years as we reached more and more wine lovers. Most early members were winemakers and we continue to value this key segment of the society. Even today, 30% of AWS members are amateur winemakers - a fact we are very proud of. The society was focused primarily on American wines in the early years, but great wine can be made anywhere and today, AWS members want to learn about wines from all corners of the globe.
Each November the Society hosts both commercial and amateur wine competitions, using AWS certified wine judges to provide consistent, objective evaluation of each wine. The amateur wine competition started in 1975 and the commercial competition in 1986, making them some of the longest running wine competitions in the US. The Society also hosts a three-day national conference in November with two full days of educational seminars, nearly 49 to choose from. Winery owners, wine educators, and renowned wine makers are selected to present sessions during this national event. In addition, a program educating members to become AWS certified wine judges is conducted on the day preceding the seminars.
So, after over 47 years, the American Wine Society is still going strong. Providing opportunities to learn more about wine with people who share your love of the grape. Is AWS for you? Check out the rest of our website and see what we have to offer. We think you'll like what you see.
About Us ~ Organization
In 1973, the Society was incorporated in the state of Michigan, and the bylaws legally established the officers and structure of the Society. This governing body consists of a President, Vice president, Secretary, Treasurer, three Directors, and an Executive Director. The link below will take you to our Board of Directors page.
In order to manage the growth of AWS, geographic regions were established and Region Vice-presidents (RVP) were elected to act as the liaison between the National Office and the local Chapters within the region. The role of the RVP changed as technology advanced and the National Office could easily contact all of the local chapters and all AWS members. Today, RVP's are appointed by the AWS President with Board of Directors concurrence. They still play a vital role in assisting existing chapters and supporting new chapters formed in their region.
The local chapter is the lifeblood of the society. Led by an elected Chairperson, the chapter provides a venue for wine lovers to learn about wine together in a fun, social environment. Chapters have the freedom to choose their activities and emphasis. Some chapters focus on wine making, some on serious wine tastings, and some are more social. We want our members to learn about wine but we let them determine how and what they want to learn.
We don't require AWS members to be part of a chapter and about 15% of our members are not. We do encourage people to join their local chapter and if there isn't one in the area, we are glad to help them start one. Learning, especially about wine, is more fun if you have people to share it with.
Please check out the pages of our website to learn more about AWS and all that we have to offer. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our National Office at 888-297-9070 or email@example.com.