Rich Smith Distinguished Service Award Nominations Open

2021 Nominations Accepted through October 30, 2020

Richard (Rich) Smith, founder of Valley Farm Management, Paraiso Vineyards and Smith Family Wines in California’s Monterey wine region was first and foremost a family man, and also a successful grape grower and winery owner, and respected colleague. Through his significant and selfless contributions of time, energy and funds to organizations that advance the American grape and wine industry, he came to be known as a highly effective, collegial and tireless leader. He passed away in December 2015.

Three of the organizations Rich helped to shape—the National Grape Research Alliance (NGRA), WineAmerica and Winegrape Growers of America (WGA)—collaborated to create the Rich Smith Distinguished Service Award to honor his spirit and legacy. It recognizes people who demonstrate similar qualities and make a similarly positive impact on the industry.

To be eligible, nominees must satisfy the following criteria:
– Geography: This award may be presented to any person (including foreign nationals) living and working in the U.S. whose contributions have benefited the American grape and grape products industries.
– Membership Status: The recipient may be, but need not be, a current or former member of any of the three sponsoring organizations: WineAmerica, WGA or NGRA.

Nominees for the Rich Smith Distinguished Service Award must exemplify leadership qualities on par with those that set Rich apart, such as:
– Fostering an atmosphere of collaboration
– Nurturing a community of grape and wine industry experts
– Addressing widespread issues or problems
– Working in harmony, addressing issues that unite us
– Working as a change agent: creating systematic, positive change through research, public policy, consumer awareness and/or volunteerism
– Displaying leadership in the grape and wine industry
– Demonstrating support for diversity and community

Click here to submit a nomination online or email a letter of nomination addressing the criteria and eligibility above. Nominations must include a summary of the nominee’s background and information about his or her business related to the U.S. grape and wine industry, involvement in various organizations or causes, and accomplishments that have benefited the industry.

Nominations are due by October 30, 2020. The recipient will be named in January 2021. Thank you for taking the time to recognize a leader!

Past Winners
2017 – John Martini, Anthony Road Wine Company
2018 – Pete Downs, Family Winemakers of California
2019 – Jerry Lohr, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines
2020 – Jim Trezise, WineAmerica