Castello Banfi’s Sharron McCarthy has been honored with the American Wine Society’s Award of Merit, given at the organization’s annual conference in November. Ms. McCarthy, a 25-year Banfi veteran, leads the estate’s wine education team in the U.S., conducting seminars for consumers, trade and students, presenting the major growing regions and detailing wine’s history, production, service and role in a healthy diet. She guides scholastic tours exploring the wine and food of Italy, and lectures annually to students at leading universities. Ranked as a Certified Specialist of Wine by the Society of Wine Educators, she is also a director of that organization and has been active with the American Institute of Wine & Food, Sommelier Society of America, New York Women’s Culinary Alliance, Dames d’Escoffier and Donne del Vino, among others. The Award of Merit is based on “substantial and meritorious achievement in wine activity,” according to AWS Executive Director Angel E. Nardone. “Consideration is given to an individual’s accomplishments and their impact on increasing or extending the appreciation of wine. Sharron McCarthy has an impressive tenure as an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and reliable educator, training professionals and enlightening consumers to the joys and benefits of wine in moderation.” The first recipient of the AWS Award of Merit, in 1971, was Dr. Konstantin Frank, a pioneering advocate in growing Europe’s Vinifera grape varietals in New York State. Subsequent honorees have included such luminaries as Maynard Amerine, Andre Tchelistcheff, Robert Mondavi, Louis Martini, Alex & Louisa Hargrave, Warren Winiarski, and Peter Sichel. Ms. McCarthy thanked the Mariani family, proprietors of Castello Banfi, for recognizing the importance of wine education. “I have been able to pursue this passion with a fairness and balance thanks to the Mariani’s magnanimous attitude and responsibility. Banfi is a true role model.” She also cited the inspiration of her mentor, the late Banfi Vice President Lucio Sorré, past president of the Society of Wine Educators. Banfi has endowed SWE and AWS scholarships in his name. Ms. McCarthy’s wine career actually began at Banfi in 1978, when she joined the firm’s consumer affairs department and was appointed its director in 1982. On leave from 1986 to 1994, she served as a consultant to the Italian Trade Commission in New York as well as to the Enoteca Italiana of Siena, Italy. Founded in 1967 and headquartered in Rochester, NY, the AWS is a national nonprofit consumer organization devoted to educating people on all aspects of wine. Its members are wine novices, experts, grape growers, amateur and professional winemakers, chefs, wine appreciators, wine educators, restaurateurs, and anyone else who wants to learn more about the appreciation of wine and gastronomy.