The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2010

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Page 70 of 104

DEPARTMENT HEADER Consumers Who Really Matter T THE AMERICAN WINE SOCIETY BOASTS THE COUNTRY’S STRONGEST WINE-PURCHASING CUSTOMER CONTINGENT story and photos by Fred Minnick he American Wine Society’s 4,000 members might be the most powerful wine-buying contingent in the country. Its membership spends anywhere from $10-$30 million a year on wine in restaurants, retailers and wineries. At dinner, they buy at least two bottles. In stores, they plan to pick up a dessert wine and walk out with a couple cases of Spanish reds and German whites. When the members take winery tours, they’ll ship home anywhere from fi ve to 20 cases of wine. “We are an organization of consumers,” says John Hames, Executive Director of the American Wine Society (AWS), the coun- try’s largest consumer-based wine organization. “We enjoy wine, and we want to learn about it.” As individuals, they are carpenters, mechanics, plumbers and teachers. They are doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers and executives. “This is not an elitist organiza- tion by any means,” Hames says. “Wine bridges all gaps.” And who American Wine Society members should really be are your customers. Willis Parker (left), President of the American Wine Society (AWS) with John Hames, director of the American Wine Society, at the Brandeberry Winery in Enon, Ohio. The winery owner is also a member of the AWS, the largest consumer wine organiza- tion in the U.S. 70 / the tasting panel / august 2010

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