New York Wine & Grape Foundation Unity Awards Announced, Winners to be Honored at B.E.V. NY Conference in Syracuse, NY

Awards Support Promotion, Enology, and Viticulture Programs in New York State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  Contact: Valerie Venezia-Ross 
Phone: 1 (518) 229-3765 
Email: [email protected]

PENN YAN NY, March 1, 2023 – The New York Wine & Grape Foundation (NYWGF) is pleased to announce the winners of the prestigious 2023 Unity Awards. The Unity Awards were created in 1990 as a way for the community to recognize, encourage, and celebrate cooperation among grape growers, wineries, researchers, retailers, and others to advance the entire industry.  Honoring the longstanding and bold spirit of our community members and their numerous achievements, NYWGF is proud to continue the 30-year tradition of celebrating industry leaders and champions. 

“I look forward to the Unity Awards Luncheon each year as it is a celebration of our grape and wine community in New York and it highlights the leadership and accomplishments of our community members.” Said Sam Filler, Executive Director of NYWGF. “This year’s winners exemplify the spirit of the Unity Awards as imagined by our founder Jim Trezise. To pay that forward, we are pleased to offer each Unity Award winner the opportunity to designate an industry related program to receive a donation in their name.”  

The Unity Award Winners, along with the organizations receiving a donation from NYWGF on their behalf, will be recognized during the B.E.V. NY Conference held from March 28-30, 2023.  Attendees will hear from the top honorees during the event and learn more about their commitment to the community and how the spirit of unity has impacted their work. 

2023 Unity Award Winners   

Phyllis Feder, Owner, Clinton Vineyards | The Jim Trezise Lifetime Achievement Award  
This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the New York wine and grape industry and made impactful contributions that advanced the industry.

Kelby James Russell, Winemaker, Red Newt Cellars | Phyllis Feder Unity Award 
This award recognizes individuals who have volunteered their time, shown exceptional leadership, and achieved recognized results in building industry cooperation and unity.

Jan Nyrop, Director, retired, Cornell AgriTech | Jim Finkle Industry Award 
This award is intentionally broad in scope in order to recognize outstanding achievements in aspects of the industry not directly covered by Unity and other awards.

Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, Dundee, NY | Winery Award 
This award recognizes a winery that has made major contributions to advancing the image and reputation of the New York wine industry.

Matt Spaccarelli, Winegrower, Fjord Vineyards | John H. Brahm III Grower Award 
This award recognizes an individual for dedication and contributions to the New York grape industry.

Jason Londo, Associate Professor, Cornell University | Research Award 
This award recognizes major contributions in the area of grape growing processing, and wine research.

Silver Thread Vineyard, Lodi, NY | Sustainability Award 
This award recognizes an organization or winery that has exemplified sustainable practices. 

Darrell Carey, Empire Merchants | Ron Reals Distributor Award 
This award recognizes achievement in distributing and promoting New York wines.

Noah’s, Greenport, NY | Restaurant Award 
This award recognizes excellence in promoting New York wines in a fine dining experience.

67 Wine & Spirits, New York, NY | Retailer Award 
This award is presented to wine stores which do an exceptional job in educating consumers about the quality and variety of New York wines.

“This is the culmination of a very, very important time in my life,” said Phyllis Feder, on receiving the Jim Trezise Lifetime Achievement Award. “I’m very touched and moved by it.”

“To me, the Unity Award speaks to what has always made New York State such a remarkable place to make wine: the feeling that we are all pulling together towards the same goal.” Said Kelby James Russell, Winemaker, Red Newt Cellars. “In a world that is so commercial and marketing driven, and where wineries view each other as competitors rather than neighbors, the farming ethos that underlays NY Wine has always spoken to me. We’re lucky to be here for so many reasons, and I’m honored that my work with so many others has helped keep us pushing forward, together.”
“I am honored to be recognized for my work that has benefited the New York wine and grape industry.” Said Jan Nyrop, Director, retired, Cornell AgriTech. “I am grateful for the colleagues I have worked with and for being provided an opportunity to contribute towards the industry’s success.”

“Its a true honor to be on the shortlist of some of the great viticulturists across the Empire State.” Said Matthew Spaccarelli, Winegrower, Fjord Vineyards. “The grape growing community in NY thrives because of our dependency on each other, as any true community does. I can proudly say that ‘I’m a product of my environment.'”

Oskar Bynke of Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard said, “We want to express our gratitude to the NYWGF and specifically our peers for awarding us with the 2023 Unity Winery Award. Our team at the winery, and the vibrant community of steadfast wine professionals and grape growers that live, breath, and champion New York wines everyday are the core reason for the strides we have made. These are the people working hard to build the Finger Lakes into an exciting wine region to live and grow and we are grateful for them, and to be amongst them. We will continue to do our best to carry the NY wine flag high, and show the wine world what we can do here in New York!”

We invite you to celebrate this year’s Unity Award recipients at a special luncheon during the B.E.V. NY Conference on March 28, 2023 in Syracuse, NY. The Jim Trezise Lifetime Achievement, The Phyllis Feder Unity Award, and the Jim Finkle Industry Award will be accepted live, with remaining award winners recognized immediately following.

For all B.E.V. NY 2023 conference attendees, admission to the luncheon is included. For those that would like to attend the luncheon ONLY, tickets are available HERE.

NYWGF will be featuring the stories of the honorees and the programs they support throughout the year at  

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New York Wine & Grape Foundation

The mission of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation is to promote the world-class image of New York grapes and wines from our diverse regions to responsibly benefit farmers, producers and consumers through innovative marketing, research, communication, and advocacy.