-- Thirty-five years ago, in 1973, Robert de Treville Lawrence, Sr., started an organization called the Vinifera Wine Growers Association, to promote the planting of vinifera
grapevines and the production of quality vinifera
wines in the eastern United States. On Sunday, Aug. 24, the association's current president, Gordon W. Murchie, announced that the Vinifera Wine Growers Association (VWGA) will become the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association (ASWA) on Sept. 2, 2008.
Murchie and his wife, Anita Murchie, currently secretary of the VWGA, will resign from their positions. Carl G. Brandhorst will take over as president of the new organization and David A. Barber will become vice president. The long-stated objectives of the VWGA will not change, and the new organization will continue to promote wine education and appreciation, the production of quality wine, and the marketability of American wines.
Gordon & Anita Murchie
The new organization, however, will give greater emphasis to the East Coast as a quality wine-producing region equal to the West Coast. ASWA will run the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition and the Virginia Wine Festival, two of the most visible programs sponsored by the VWGA.
A board meeting of the VWGA was held on Sunday, Aug. 24, at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Va., and the board members approved the change in name and administration of the organization. A new seal for the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association was unveiled. It retains the same logo with a grapevine in the center that was used by the VWGA.
"We kept the grapevine logo," Gordon said, "because as the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association we continue to have the same roots, the same goals, as did the Vinifera Wine Growers Association."
At a luncheon following the board meeting, Gordon and Anita Murchie were presented with lifetime achievement plaques in recognition of their many years of work with the Vinifera Wine Growers Association. Gordon also transferred the gavel to Carl Brandhorst as the incoming president.
The group's first major undertaking under its new name will be the 33rd Virginia Wine Festival, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 27 and 28. A grand commonwealth tradition, this year the festival has expanded to a new location, the Prince William County Fairgrounds in Manassas, Va. Long regarded as one of the East Coast's premier wine events, the festival will showcase many award-winning Virginia wineries, along with seminars addressing "Everything One Should Know About Wine," wine and food pairings, regional arts and crafts, entertainment and children's educational programs. The festival marks the culmination of Virginia Wine Month. For details, visit: festival website