Spring 2016: National Wine & Grape Policy Conference – Washington, DC

WineAmerica Board Meeting Brings New Leadership and New Members

Washington, DC – WineAmerica, the National Association of American Wineries, took part in the annual National Wine and Grape Policy Conference this week in Washington, DC.  Held in conjunction with Winegrape Growers of America, the three-day conference attracts wine industry leaders from across the country to meet and weigh in on the most pressing public policy issues affecting growers and wineries.

This year, industry leaders from all over the United States were in attendance, representing wineries, growers and state associations.  Subjects covered included federal excise tax reform, music licensing guidelines and the overall political climate in Washington, DC.  The event culminated with the Wines of America Congressional reception held in the Rayburn Gold Room, where members of Congress, their staff and selected guests sampled wines from 27 states.

New Leadership

Concurrently, the WineAmerica Board of Directors meeting was also held, where the board thanked Caroline Shaw, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Jackson Family Wines, for her two years of service as Chair of the organization.

The new WineAmerica Chairman of the Board is Trent Preszler, CEO of Bedell Cellars on the North Fork of Long Island. Trent has served on the board of WineAmerica since 2008 and the board of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation since 2004, where he is also Chairman. Trent earned an MS in Agricultural Economics and a PhD in Viticulture & Enology, both from Cornell University. He also worked in The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Clinton Administration.

“I am thrilled to take the reins of WineAmerica and continue the robust growth and success we experienced under the leadership of my predecessor, Caroline Shaw,” said Preszler. “The future of WineAmerica is bright, and there are more compelling reasons than ever for American wineries to join our grassroots public policy mission.”

Assuming the position of Vice Chair of the Board is Martin Clubb of L’Ecole No. 41 in the Walla Walla Valley of Washington. Marty is a long time WineAmerica Board member and is currently the President of the Washington Wine Institute. Marty is the Managing Winemaker and co-owner of L’Ecole No. 41 with his wife Megan. Marty was also instrumental in the founding of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and served as its president for six years. Marty worked with other industry pioneers in the development of the Walla Walla Community College Center for Enology and Viticulture. He earned a chemical engineering degree from Texas A&M University.

New Members

The WineAmerica Board also appointed Dana Huber from Huber Winery in Starlight, Indiana to the open seat from the Great Lakes Board region. Dana and her husband Ted run Huber Winery and Starlight Distillery. Founded in 1978, Huber Winery is a pioneer in the Indiana wine industry, and they have since expanded into a diverse farm that grows many fruits and vegetables. In 2000 the Hubers founded Starlight Distillery, the first licensed distillery to open in Indiana. Ms. Huber joins another recently appointed Board member, Janie Brooks Heuck of Brooks Winery in Oregon.

WineAmerica would also like to highlight some of our latest members who have joined from our recent membership drive. St. James Winery, a key leader in the Missouri and Midwest wine industry has rejoined the organization, and will be a key member for us in that region. Other leading wineries to join WineAmerica this spring are Leelanau Cellars in Michigan, Three Brothers Winery and Estate in New York and Dutton-Goldfied Winery in Sonoma County, California.

The next WineAmerica Board of Directors meeting will at the Allison Hotel and Resort in Dundee, Oregon from November 2-3, 2016.



Sunday, May 22

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm: Conference Early Registration & Welcome Reception

Monday, May 23

8:00 am: Breakfast and Registration

8:00 am – 9:00 am: WineAmerica Executive Committee Meeting (closed session)
9:00 am – 10:30 am: WGA Board of Directors Meeting (concurrent)
9:00 am – 10:30 am : WineAmerica Board Meeting (concurrent)
10:30 am – 11:45 am : State and Regional Associations Advisory Council Meeting

11:45 am – 1:15 pm: Keynote Lunch (Speaker TBA)

General Session: Hot/Key Topics

1:15 pm– 1:45 pm: Pest and Disease/USDA research update
1:45 pm– 2:15 pm: TTB Update
2:15 pm– 2:45 pm: FDA Update
2:45 pm – 3:15 pm: Immigration/Worker Status Update
3:15 pm– 3:45 pm: Waters of the US Discussion
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Panel Discussion: Music Licensing and the Wine Industry

Tuesday, May 24

8:00 am: Breakfast 
8:30 am – 9:30 am: Panel Discussion: Federal Excise Tax Reform

General Session: Hot/Key Topics

9:45 am – 11:15 am: International Wine Marketing Competition in the US
11:30 am – 12:00 : Legislative Briefing (Cornerstone Public Affairs and Meyers and Associates)

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Lunch & Congressional Visit Prep

1:30 pm – 5:15 pm: Congressional Visits Attendees will be divided into teams or by states and will head to Capitol Hill for legislative meetings
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm: The Wines of America Reception on Capitol Hill (Rayburn Gold Room)

Wednesday, May 25

9:00 am – 5:00 pm: Additional Congressional visits.

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