Merry Edwards Headlines Hall of Fame Class of 2013

Growing up, many of us dreamed of hitting grand slam home runs, pitching perfect games and, one day, being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The sport may differ from person to person, but the dream is amazingly similar. It’s probably our first encounter with the concept of immortality.

This came to mind the other day when I received the press release announcing the 2013 inductees into the Vintners Hall of Fame. I’d say it’s highly unlikely that any of the inductees since the Hall’s inception dreamed of growing up to become a world-famous winemaker.

But these men and women are worth honoring…and immortalizing…given the vast amount of enjoyment that the products of their work and skills and creativity have provided to so many people.

So all this week, we will be saluting the Vintners Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013—a very diverse group that includes an exceptional winemaker, two writers and a well-known activist for farm workers’ rights.

We’ll begin with the main press release today. Then, for the rest of this week, we’ll shine the spotlight on one inductee each day. I hope you’ll check back daily, because these are people who have played key roles in shaping the world of wine as we know it today. Our thanks to Balzac Communications for the info.

The Culinary Institute of America has announced that its 2013 Vintners Hall of Fame inductees will be winemaking pioneer Meredith “Merry” Edwards, legendary wine writer Frank Schoonmaker, labor leader Cesar Chavez, and the founder of “The Wine Advocate,” Robert Parker.

The official induction of the 2013 Vintners Hall of Fame honorees will take place on February 18, 2013 at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, California, as part of the college’s 7th annual Vintners Hall of Fame Induction Celebration.

“This year’s inductees represent a broad spectrum of the wine world, and demonstrate how people from vastly different backgrounds and professions have influenced the quality and perception of California wines,” said CIA President Tim Ryan. “The Culinary Institute of America is proud to host the Vintners Hall of Fame and honor the class of 2013 for their accomplishments in making California wines so extraordinary and successful.”

In celebration of Presidents Day, a dozen California wineries will host a reception featuring wine and food pairings from White House menus. The members of the Class of 2013 will be inducted in the Vintners Hall of Fame Barrel Room after the unveiling of sculpted bronze plaques honoring those inducted in 2012. The induction ceremony will be followed by a Celebrity Chef Walk-Around Dinner in the college’s teaching kitchen. As in the past, Vintners Hall of Fame Inductees past and present will provide a selection of their wines to be enjoyed with dinner.

“This is another great induction class,” said W. Blake Gray, who chaired the nominating committee. “It’s interesting to see the two most argued-about candidates of recent years, Robert Parker and Cesar Chavez, going in at the same time. I think this is a testament to the quality of discussion people have conducted online and in social media about the merits of the candidates. My only regret is, what will we argue about next year?

“But for this year, it’s a great celebration of a remarkable winemaker in Merry Edwards, two of the most influential writers in Parker and Frank Schoonmaker, and a reformer in Chavez, who helped unite and transform farm workers into a crucial part of the skilled winemaking team.”

Proceeds from the Induction Celebration help support the Vintners Hall of Fame and contribute to the scholarship fund for students in the Professional Wine Studies program at CIA Greystone.

Tickets for the program are $175 ($100 tax-deductible). For more information about the event, please contact Holly Briwa at h_briwa@Culinary.Edu.

The Vintners Hall of Fame at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information about the Vintners Hall of Fame, and to view the list of past inductees with their photos and biographies, please visit

Posted in Wine Buzz
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