West Coast Trip

In January 2017, Dave Barber, competition chairperson and Grant Crandall, president of the ASWA to conduct a series of events. The first event was the largest wine industry gathering that is held annually in Sacramento, California. The Unified Symposium was attended by approximately 30,000 wine industry members. The ASWA team poured 48 different wines at the annual Major Reception at the Unified event. We also renewed ties to a number of wine industry leaders including, among others, Jim Trezise, the newly elected President of WineAmerica.

Anne Vercelli, the West Coast Representative of the ASWA, did a huge amount of work planning for our trip and organizing many of the events, for which we are incredibly grateful. With her crucial assistance we organized and hosted two wine dinners. One was at the home of Ken and June Spadoni, and the other at the home of Anne Vercelli. Ken Spadoni is a major commercial real estate broker in the Sonoma/Napa area responsible for many of the sales of wineries there. The Spadonis generously sponsored their catered dinner. Anne Vercelli, with the assistance of two friends as well as the ASWA group, hosted the larger dinner on Saturday evening, January 28. Attendees at both dinners included a large number of significant members of the wine industry and the wine media, including Marcello Monticelli, Chief Winemaker at Gallo; Dave and Patty Rafanelli, of the best known Zinfandel winery in Sonoma County; Rob McNeil, Senior Management at Accolade Wines (Geyser Peak, Atlas Peak, Hardy’s, Banrock Station and the former Director of Winemaking for Don Sebastiani and Sons); Scott Covington, Winemaker at Trione; and Patrick Mukaida and Tony Ross from the Hospitality Division of Ferrari-Carano. Also in attendance were three wine radio commentators, each of whom have programs in the Sonoma/Napa area, Steve Garner of the Good Food Hour on Sonoma’s largest talk station, KSRO, Michele Anna Jordon of ‘Mouthful’ on KRCB, and Larry VanAalst. Each dinner featured at least a dozen East Coast wines and a lot of discussion of the wine industry on the East Coast.

On Saturday, January 28 Barber and Crandell appeared on “The Good Food Hour,” hosted by Steve Garner for a full hour presentation featuring some of the top wines from our Competition. On Sunday, January 29 they also appeared for a full hour on Michele Anna Jordan’s show “Mouthful, the Wine Country’s Most Delicious Hour,” on Public Radio KRCB. The Jordan show featured some of the more uncommon varietals that are popular on East Coast but are not as often seen on the West Coast.

The newest addition to the West Coast trip was a presentation and lengthy tasting event for Enology and Viticulture students and faculty at the most famous such university program in the United States, U.C. Davis. Approximately 70 members of the student body and faculty attended a presentation at which Barber presented some of the history of wine on the East Coast, and Grant gave a brief overview of the present-day East Coast industry. That was followed by a two-and-a-half hour tasting event at which the students and faculty showed a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for East Coast wines. Approximately 60 different wines were presented and a large number of the attendees tasted a substantial portion of that number of wines. Another aspect of the evening at U.C. Davis was the initial portion of the program at which the Monteith Trophy was presented to Darrell Corti. After the presentation of the trophy was made, Corti proceeded in his typical manner to question the students on several wine topics.