Washington, DC, December 5, 2016—The Board of Directors of WineAmerica has announced that wine industry veteran Jim Trezise will become the organization’s President starting in January 2017.
WineAmerica is the national organization of American wineries, representing wine producer members from 43 states with grassroots public policy advocacy in Washington, DC. WineAmerica held its 2016 Fall Meeting in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and was honored to be joined by Congressional Representative Suzanne Bonamici and Senator Ron Wyden, who is spearheading legislation to reduce wine excise taxes.
“We’re delighted that Jim has agreed to assume a more formal role with WineAmerica,” said the organization’s Chairman of the Board Trent Preszler, PhD, who is CEO of Bedell Cellars on Long Island. “Jim is well-known and highly respected throughout the American wine industry, as well as among influential public officials, and his commitment to our industry is unparalleled.”
Trezise is transitioning from his 31-year position as President of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation (NYWGF) to an increased role with WineAmerica, while remaining President of the International Riesling Foundation, judging in major wine competitions, and continuing his involvement with other wine industry organizations and activities.
He will orient his NYWGF successor, Mr. Sam Filler, in the first quarter of 2017 while undertaking increased involvement with WineAmerica during that time. Jim has served on the WineAmerica Board of Directors and Executive Committee for over 20 years, and has devoted substantial additional pro bono time to the organization in recent years. He also serves on the Boards of several other major industry organizations such as FIVS, the National Grape & Wine Initiative, and Wine Market Council.
Over the years he has received several national awards for his contributions to the American wine industry, including the ‘Grand Award” of the Society of Wine Educators; the “Wine Integrity Award” from the Lodi Winegrape Commission; the “Distinguished Service Award” from the Society of Enology and Viticulture; and the “Perpetual Monteith Trophy” (Thomas Jefferson Cup) from the Vinifera Winegrowers Association. He was also named one of “The 20 Most Admired People in the American Wine Industry” by Vineyard & Winery Management magazine; and one of the “Top 50 Movers and Shakers” by Wines & Vines magazine.
“This is a major step forward for WineAmerica,” said Caroline Shaw, WineAmerica’s immediate past Chair, and Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Jackson Family Wines, who first suggested this idea. “Jim’s long experience with WineAmerica, success in public policy advocacy, familiarity with key public officials, and involvement with many other industry organizations will strengthen our impact.”
Jim will work closely with WineAmerica’s current staff, Director of Public Affairs Michael Kaiser, and Director of Operations Tara Good, along with government affairs counsel Meyers & Associates. His involvement will be selectively targeted at opportunities which offer the most promise to advance the interests of the American wine industry. He will travel to Washington, DC and other locations as needed, but will be operating from the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York on a day-to-day basis.
“WineAmerica is truly a vital organization for advancing the interests of the American wine industry,” said Trezise. “While I have been involved for a very long time, I’m pleased that I will have more time to devote to its important activities in the future.”
WineAmerica’s Fall meeting was organized and hosted by Janie Brooks Heuck, owner of Brooks Wines, and included a special listening session with leaders of the Oregon wine industry, as well as updates on all public policy matters and the Presidential election outlook. WineAmerica’s next meeting will be in Washington, DC in May with a focus on educating the new Administration and legislators about the American wine industry’s priorities.