Foundation honors unity award winners
FINGER LAKES-The New York Wine & Grape Foundation (NYWGF) recently announced the winners of the 2023 Unity Awards. The Unity Awards were created in 1990 as a way for the community to recognize, encourage, and celebrate cooperation among grape growers, wineries, researchers, retailers, and others to advance the entire industry.
"I look forward to the Unity Awards Luncheon each year as it is a celebration of our grape and wine community in New York and it highlights the leadership and accomplishments of our community members," said Sam Filler, executive director of NYWGF. "This year's winners exemplify the spirit of the Unity Awards as imagined by our founder Jim Trezise. To pay that forward, we are pleased to offer each Unity Award winner the opportunity to designate an industry-related program to receive a donation in their name."
The Unity Award Winners, along with the organizations receiving a donation from NYWGF on their behalf, will be recognized during the B.E.V. NY Conference held from March 28 to 30. Attendees will hear from the top honorees during the event and learn more about their commitment to the community and how the spirit of unity has impacted their work.
2023 Unity Award Winners
• Phyllis Feder, Owner, Clinton Vineyards | The Jim Trezise Lifetime Achievement Award
This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the New York wine and grape industry and made impactful contributions that advanced the industry.
• Kelby James Russell, Winemaker, Red Newt Cellars | Phyllis Feder Unity Award
This award recognizes individuals who have volunteered their time, shown exceptional leadership, and achieved recognized results in building industry cooperation and unity.
• Jan Nyrop, Director, retired, Cornell AgriTech | Jim Finkle Industry Award
This award is intentionally broad in scope in order to recognize outstanding achievements in aspects of the industry not directly covered by Unity and other awards.
• Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, Dundee, NY | Winery Award
This award recognizes a winery that has made major contributions to advancing the image and reputation of the New York wine industry.
• Matt Spaccarelli, Winegrower, Fjord Vineyards | John H. Brahm III Grower Award
This award recognizes an individual for dedication and contributions to the New York grape industry.
• Jason Londo, Associate Professor, Cornell University | Research Award
This award recognizes major contributions in the area of grape growing processing, and wine research.
• Silver Thread Vineyard, Lodi, NY | Sustainability Award
This award recognizes an organization or winery that has exemplified sustainable practices.
• Darrell Carey, Empire Merchants | Ron Reals Distributor Award
This award recognizes achievement in distributing and promoting New York wines.
• Noah's, Greenport, NY | Restaurant Award
This award recognizes excellence in promoting New York wines in a fine dining experience.
• 67 Wine & Spirits, New York, NY | Retailer Award
This award is presented to wine stores that do an exceptional job of educating consumers about the quality and variety of New York wines.
"To me, the Unity Award speaks to what has always made New York state such a remarkable place to make wine: the feeling that we are all pulling together towards the same goal," said Kelby James Russell, winemaker, Red Newt Cellars. "In a world that is so commercial and marketing driven, and where wineries view each other as competitors rather than neighbors, the farming ethos that underlays NY Wine has always spoken to me. We're lucky to be here for so many reasons, and I'm honored that my work with so many others has helped keep us pushing forward, together."
Oskar Bynke of Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard said, "We want to express our gratitude to the NYWGF and specifically our peers for awarding us with the 2023 Unity Winery Award. Our team at the winery, and the vibrant community of steadfast wine professionals and grape growers that live, breath, and champion New York wines every day are the core reason for the strides we have made. These are the people working hard to build the Finger Lakes into an exciting wine region to live and grow and we are grateful for them, and to be amongst them. We will continue to do our best to carry the NY wine flag high, and show the wine world what we can do here in New York!"
NYWGF will be featuring the stories of the honorees and the programs they support throughout the year at www.newyorkwines.org.