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The Culinary Institute of America Announces 2009 Vintners hall of fame inductees

Written By Administrator On December 1, 2008

Vintneers St. Helena, CA – The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) announced the wine industry leaders who will be officially inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame at a gala reception and dinner ceremony on March 14th, 2009 at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in St. Helena, CA.

The 2009 Hall of Fame inductees include noted wine journalist Gerald Asher, Gourmet magazine; Jack and Jamie Davies, founders of Schramsberg Vineyards; Jess Jackson, founder of  Kendall-Jackson Estates; U.C. Davis Professor and co-founder of Lagier-Meredith Winery, Carole Meredith; Justin Meyer, co-founder of Silver Oak Cellars; and Warren Winiarski, founder of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

Frederick and Jacob Beringer, who founded Beringer Vineyards, will be inducted as “Pioneers,” a category which recognizes those who made a significant contribution to the California wine industry and passed away prior to March, 1989. 

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who have made the California wine industry the success it is today,” says Dr. Tim Ryan, president of the CIA. “Their efforts and dedication in creating the worldwide prestige of the California wine industry are inspiring, and the Vintners Hall of Fame is a wonderful place to recognize their contributions.”

This year’s nominating committee, chaired by noted wine journalist W. Blake Gray, included Charles Sullivan, wine historian and author; Mike Dunne, Sacramento Bee; John Olney, The Wine Country Club.com; Jim Gordon, Wines and Vines; and Darrell Corti, Corti Brothers, who was inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame in 2008. The final inductees were elected by the 45 members of the Vintners Hall of Fame Electoral College.  

“I’m delighted that the voting members of the Vintners Hall of Fame Electoral College have chosen such an outstanding induction class that represents so many aspects of the California wine industry: not just making, selling and promoting wine, but also researching and writing about wine,” says W. Blake Gray. “This superb induction class brings great honor to the Vintners Hall of Fame at The Culinary Institute of America, Greystone, and I thank the voters for selecting it.”

The Vintners Hall of Fame annual induction dinner provides scholarships for the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the CIA, Greystone. The 2009 induction gala and ceremony will be supported by a spectacular selection of seminars, luncheons, and food and wine tastings which will take place on March 13th and 14th, 2009.  

2009 Vintners Hall of Fame inductees’ bios: 

Gerald Asher

Wine editor of Gourmet magazine for more than 30 years, Asher displays both great knowledge of wine and the ability to write about it without technical jargon. His elegant, witty writing has passed along a passion for wine to many food lovers.

Jack and Jamie Davies

Jack and Jamie Davies resurrected the abandoned Schramsberg estate in the mid-1960s. With Jack overseeing production and Jamie doing the marketing, they established Schramsberg as a world-class house of sparkling wine. Every president starting with Richard Nixon has served Schramsberg wine at an official White House function.

Jess Jackson

In 1974, Jess, a founding member of Family Winemakers of California, converted an orchard in Lakeport to a vineyard. By 1982, the first Kendall-Jackson-labeled wine went to market. Jackson created a new style of Chardonnay that made it the most popular varietal in America. He has also embarked on a quest to elevate the best Sonoma County wines to the highest level of respect in the wine world.

Carole Meredith, PhD.

Dr. Meredith spent 20 plus years in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis, studying grape genetics and using DNA typing methods to discover the origins of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Syrah and most recently Zinfandel. Today she is the co-owner of the Napa winery Lagier-Meredith.

Justin Meyer

A Brother in the Christian Brothers order, Meyer began his winemaking career as an assistant to Brother Timothy at Greystone Cellars, now the West Coast campus of the CIA. After studying at UC Davis, he left the Brotherhood to create the Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon-only program with Ray Duncan. The wine became one of the most requested premium wines in US restaurants.

Warren Winiarski, PhD.

Dr. Winiarski left his teaching position at the University of Chicago to become a winemaker, first working at Robert Mondavi Winery before forming his own company, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. The very first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon produced at his new winery won the famous 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting, instantly proving that California red wines are as good as any in the world.

2009 Vintners Hall of Fame “Pioneer” inductee bio: 

Frederick and Jacob Beringer

The Beringer brothers emigrated from Mainz, Germany in the 1860s to seek their fortune, and became leaders of the California wine industry in its rise to greatness from the 1870s until the 1890s. A Beringer Riesling won a silver medal at the Paris Exhibition of 1887. The winery and house they built are among the most treasured buildings in the Napa Valley.

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