Foreign Affairs

May 1, 2015 – Celebration of Ten Years of Enjoying Virginia Wine

The Director General of the Foreign Service, Arnold Chacon, at podium, requests that Gordon Murchie (left) and Carl Brandhorst (right), President Emeritus and President of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association (ASWA), respectively, join him in giving a toast “honoring all past, present and future members of the U.S. Foreign Service and Foreign Affairs communities and their families who have served abroad promoting and defending America’s policies and its images, particularly during times of intense crises and in remote places.”

The Vinifera Wine Growers Association, VWGA, now the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association, has, as of this year, selected and provided award-winning Virginia wines to accompany the annual Foreign Affairs Day luncheon, which is held in the elegant and historic Benjamin Franklin diplomatic reception room atop the Department of State building. The featured wine this year was Horton Vineyards’ sparkling Viognier selected to celebrate this special luncheon. Previous years’ selections have come from Horton, Barboursville and Sunset Hills Vineyards.

The luncheon is limited to 250 lucky ticket holders, including invited senior government officials, out of more than 1,000 individuals mostly retired and active duty personnel who attend the all-day program that included a morning status report on major worldwide issues challenging the U.S. by the Secretary of State, followed by mid-morning regional area briefings.

Many distinguished members of the U.S. foreign affairs community filled the elegant Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic Reception Room during this year’s celebration of Foreign Affairs Day at the Department of State. The guests prepare to join the Director General of the Foreign Service in toasting Gordon Murchie, retired Foreign Service Officer, and Carl Brandhorst, retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency, both past and present presidents of the ASWA, as well as to all members of the American foreign affairs Community. Seated between Murchie and Brandhorst is Ambassador Sally Cowal, who is the co-owner of Muse Winery, which was the winner of the 2015 Governor’s Cup Wine Competition. The person in the upper left hand corner is Chryss Hernandez who coordinates the annual FAD program.


May 2, 2014 – Virginia Wines Featured at the U.S. Foreign Affairs Day

For the ninth straight year, the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Associations (formerly the VWGA) has sponsored the selection and presentation of Virginia wines served at the event’s official luncheon held in the historic Ben Franklin diplomatic reception room atop the State Department.

This year, the 250 invited guests representing all sectors of the U.S. Foreign Affairs Community including White House, NSC, Defense Department, AID, CIA, etc., as well as retired Foreign Service Officers, were offered two top quality Virginia wines to accompany their luncheon, the 2012 vintage rosé from Barboursville Vineyards, an Italian-styled dry rosé crafted from 22% Barbera, 38% Cabernet Franc, 27% Sangiovese, and 13% Merlot, and the 2013 Chardonnay, 100%, from Sunset Hills Vineyards, both featured and printed on special table cards with tasting and content information.

Acting Director-General of the Foreign Service, Hans Klemm, in his luncheon opening remarks expressed the following: I am reminded today that wine has been a tool of American foreign affairs and diplomacy from the earliest days of our nation’s independence, as exampled by our most inveterate practitioner of diplomacy and connoisseur of wine, Benjamin Franklin, who is quoted as viewing wine as making “daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.”

He then introduced the wines being served from Barboursville and Sunset Hills Vineyards, after which he invited ASWA past and present presidents, Gordon W. Murchie and Carl Brandhorst, to join him in “toasting all members of the U.S. Foreign Affairs Community present here today and all those who have preceded us for their continued safety and success in upholding and communicating the principles of American democracy internationally.”

The Acting Director General of the Foreign Service gave the opening remarks at the luncheon mentioning both the wines and wineries, as well as the association. In toasting all members of the Foreign Affairs Community present and past, the Director-General asked the ASWA’s past president, Gordon W. Murchie, and present president, Carl Brandhorst, to stand and join him in making the toast.

Joining the Acting Director-General of the Foreign Service in toasting all members of the U.S. Foreign Affairs Community and the 250 other individuals representing all facets of the American Foreign Affairs Community attending the annual Foreign Affairs luncheon in the Department of State’s elegant Ben Franklin Diplomatic Reception Room are VWGA and ASWA’s past and present presidents, Gordon W. Murchie and Carl Brandhorst.

The conference actually began in the morning with a welcoming and brief update of world affairs by the Deputy Secretary of State, followed by several breakout sessions given by the Assistant Secretaries for African, East Asian and Pacific, Near Eastern and Western Hemisphere Affairs, with special sessions covering the main functions of the Department of State.

* – The ASWA also facilitated the Virginia wine, a Riesling from Prince Michel Winery, served at the special banquet commemorating the 90th establishment of the U.S. Foreign Service given at the Department of State on May 22nd, 2014.


May 3, 2013 – Virginia Wines Featured at the U.S. Foreign Affairs Day

For the eighth straight year, the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association provided selected Virginia wines as an accompaniment to the annual U.S. Foreign Affairs Day luncheon held in the historic and elegant Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic Reception Room atop the Department of State in Washington, D.C.
Of the 500 plus retired and active duty Foreign Service Officers and other USG and Administration employees involved in foreign affairs from the Civil Service, White House, NSC, CIA, AID, Defense Department, etc., who attended the Foreign Affairs Day’s morning program, only 250 pre-registered individuals were, on a first come basis, able to attend the afternoon annual luncheon.

The morning sessions which included numerous geographic and functional briefings, were highlighted by a current overview of worldwide foreign affairs issues and challenges presented by the Secretary of State, John F. Kerry.

The opening remarks at the 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. luncheon were given by the Director-General of the Foreign Service, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and included appreciative identification of the two wines provided by the ASWA to accompany the luncheon: Barboursville’s 2011 Vintage Rosé and Horton’s 2011 Chardonnay.

Wines Provided by the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association:
2011 Vintage Rosé from Barboursville Vineyards, VA, a tastful Italian-style, dry rosé crafted from 48% Nebbiolo, 27% Cabernet Franc and 25% Sangiovese grapes.
2011 Chardonnay, 100%, from Horton Vineyards, VA, provides creamy mouthfeel with balanced oak spice, vanilla, and a finish of ripe juicy flavors.

Featured on each of the 25 tables, each with seating for ten, were two tent cards which further identified and described the wines. Accolades offered by the attendees regarding the wines were numerous.

Director-General Linda Thomas-Greenfield discusses the day’s luncheon and accompanying wines with ASWA President and President Emeritus, Carl Brandhorst and Gordon Murchie, respectively. A quote from the DG’s remarks is as follows: “I am reminded today that wine has always been a tool of American foreign affairs and diplomacy, as exampled by the toasting of our Declaration of Independence with ample drafts of wine led by two of our nation’s most notable political leaders and wine enthusiasts, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. Thus, following a diplomatic tradition, today’s Foreign Affairs Day luncheon is being accompanied by two award-winning Virginia wines.”

ASWA President and President Emeritus, Carl Brandhorst (L) and Gordon Murchie (R) are asked to join the Director-General and all attendees in “toasting all members of the U.S. Foreign Affairs community present and past for continued success in defending and communicating America’s principles of Democracy internationally – cheers!”