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News & Events

2012 28 November

Society of Wine Educators Board of Directors appoints Sharron McCarthy Director Ermeritus

New York, NY, November 2012 - At the Society of Wine Educators’ Fall board meeting, the board unanimously agree to appoint Sharron McCarthy as Director Emeritus.

The Society has granted this honor only three times previously: the first Director Emeritus was Julius Wile, who helped write the by-laws of the organization and was Treasurer for many years; William Lembeck, CSS, CWE, one of the founders of SWE, who served as Treasurer; and Hayato Kojima, CWE, who founded the Japanese branch of the Society, and continues to promote its activities in Asia.  This appointment enables the person to attend Board meetings and contribute to all issues raised.

Ms. McCarthy had numerous achievements in the three years of her tenure as President, from 2007 to 2010. First, she expanded the Society’s presence in Asia, helping to establish branches in China and Korea. Second, she increased awareness of the Society and its certifications, not only through public relations, but also by the presence of SWE executives at industry events. According to Mr. Lembeck, “During Sharron’s tenure, there was significant growth of interest in all three certificates, the CSW, CSS and CWE, which reinforced their credibility as a sound basis for professional jobs within the wine and spirits industry. Due to the unprecedented increase in certifications, SWE gained a new financial security.”

Third, she appointed Ed Korry as Educational Liaison, who in turn developed the Beverage Specialist certificate, which she strongly promoted. This ground-breaking innovation helped broaden the society’s horizons to include beer, sake, and non-alcoholic beverages such as coffee, tea, cider, water, and ready-to-drink beverages. This certificate has become a valuable tool for a much wider audience within the general hospitality industry.

Fourth, she oversaw a major re-write and update of the CSS Study Guide, begun under her auspices by Harriet and Bill Lembeck, and completed one year after her term ended, by Tracy Ellen Kamens. It is a very strong guide, which is comprehensive in its coverage of the field.

Before becoming President, Ms. McCarthy served as Treasurer of SWE and later as Vice President. She has been a member of the Board since 2000.

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.

Ms. McCarthy’s career in wine 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.  She has led the firm’s wine education team since its formal consolidation in 1998, and was appointed Vice President in 2002.  She and her team conduct wine education seminars for consumer, trade and educational groups, presenting the major wine regions of the world, the history of wine and the laws governing its production, the proper service of wine and its role in a healthy diet.  Ms. McCarthy lectures annually to students at leading universities in the US and abroad, and leads scholastic trips to Italy’s wine country.

Banfi, wholly owned by the Mariani family of New York, is America’s leading importer of fine wine.  Under Banfi Vintners it represents the wines of the Mariani’s own Castello Banfi of Montalcino and VinMotion of the Pacific Northwest along with a selection of Italian wines including Riunite, Bolla, Fontana Candida, Sartori and Cecchi.  Under Excelsior Wines & Spirits it represents the South American wines of Concha y Toro and Trivento as well as the California Brands Little Black Dress and Five Rivers.

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