2022 Rich Smith Distinguished Service Award Nominations Open

2022 Nominations Accepted through October 29, 2021

Richard (Rich) Smith, founder of Valley Farm Management, Paraiso Vineyards and Smith Family Wines in California’s Santa Lucia Highlands wine region, was first and foremost a family man, and also a successful grape grower and winery owner, and a 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 annually recognizes people who demonstrate similar qualities and make a similarly positive impact on the industry, and gives us an opportunity to remember this remarkable man.

You may complete and submit your nomination online OR download a nomination form to complete offline and email to us. Nominations are due by October 29, 2021. The recipient will be named at the WGA Leadership Luncheon on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, in Sacramento.

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
2021 – Donniella Winchell, Ohio Wine Producers Association

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