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  • Jerry Lohr Receives the 2018 Rich Smith Distinguished Service Award

    Jerry Rich Smith Award
    2018 Rich Smith Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Award Pre­sent­ed to Wine Indus­try Leg­end Jer­ry Lohr

    SACRA­MEN­TO, CA, Jan­u­ary 30, 2019 — The third annu­al Rich Smith Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Award for major con­tri­bu­tions to the Amer­i­can grape and wine indus­try, and to research, was giv­en to Jer­ry Lohr of J. Lohr Vine­yards and Wines. Lohr has com­mit­ted near­ly 50 years of lead­er­ship and achieve­ment to the wine industry 

    The award was pre­sent­ed to Lohr today at the annu­al Lead­er­ship Lun­cheon of the Wine­grape Grow­ers of Amer­i­ca (WGA), which co-spon­sors the award with the Nation­al Grape Research Alliance (NGRA) and WineAm­er­i­ca. The late Richard Rich” Smith was a tire­less leader and advo­cate for each of the three orga­ni­za­tions. The lun­cheon was held dur­ing the Uni­fied Wine & Grape Sym­po­sium, the wine and grape industry’s largest con­fer­ence and trade show. 

    Smith was founder and co-own­er with his wife, Clau­dia Alexan­der Smith, of Paraiso Vine­yards and Smith Fam­i­ly Wines in California’s San­ta Lucia High­lands AVA. He was wide­ly known and revered for his pas­sion for the wine and grape indus­try, his com­mit­ment to enhanc­ing its future, and his col­lab­o­ra­tion with col­leagues to achieve col­lec­tive goals. Those three words – pas­sion, com­mit­ment and col­lab­o­ra­tion – are inscribed on the award, which is pre­sent­ed annu­al­ly to a per­son who emu­lates Smith’s defin­ing traits and works as tire­less­ly for the com­mon good. 

    Clau­dia and Jason Smith, son of Rich and Clau­dia, stat­ed, It is an hon­or to present this award to Jer­ry. His decades of ded­i­ca­tion to the indus­try and all its facets – research, mar­ket­ing, pol­i­cy, sci­ence and more – have been inte­gral to the suc­cess of our indus­try nation­wide. Jer­ry and my dad sat on many boards and shared a sim­i­lar pas­sion to do what is best for the wine­grape grow­ing com­mu­ni­ty in a self­less and ded­i­cat­ed way that is hard to repli­cate. It gives the fam­i­ly great plea­sure to share this award with Jer­ry in my dad’s name.” 

    Lohr is respect­ed uni­ver­sal­ly by his peers for his inti­mate under­stand­ing of Cal­i­for­nia wine­grow­ing and for his vast knowl­edge, with which he can address all facets of wine­grow­ing, from the day-to-day details of vine­yard man­age­ment to lead­ing-edge viti­cul­tur­al research. An indus­try leader and one of the few remain­ing sub­stan­tial inde­pen­dents, he is a fer­vent advo­cate both for the Arroyo Seco AVA of Mon­terey Coun­ty and for Paso Rob­les; he is an ener­getic and artic­u­late cham­pi­on for these regions. 

    Lohr’s ded­i­ca­tion goes beyond J. Lohr Vine­yards & Wines. His work on behalf of the entire indus­try has includ­ed for­mer posts as direc­tor and chair of Wine Insti­tute and chair of the Mon­terey Wine­grow­ers Coun­cil. He is also one of the four found­ing mem­bers of Wine Vision, an indus­try group that pro­motes a long-range view of the wine indus­try. Addi­tion­al­ly, Lohr found­ed the Nation­al Grape and Wine Ini­tia­tive, now known as the Nation­al Grape Research Alliance, a coali­tion rep­re­sent­ing grape grow­ers, proces­sors, winer­ies and aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions com­mit­ted to improv­ing the indus­try. Over the course of his career, Lohr served as found­ing direc­tor, four-time res­i­dent and chair of the mar­ket­ing com­mit­tee of the Mon­terey Coun­ty Vint­ners and Grow­ers Asso­ci­a­tion (MCV­GA). He served as direc­tor and chair of the mar­ket­ing com­mit­tee for the Paso Rob­les Vint­ners and Grow­ers Asso­ci­a­tion (PRW­CA).

    In 2007, UC Davis hon­ored Lohr with its Award of Dis­tinc­tion, and the Cal­i­for­nia State Fair pre­sent­ed him with a Life­time Achieve­ment Award. The fol­low­ing year, 2008, he was named Wine Indus­try Per­son of the Year by the Paso Rob­les Wine Coun­try Alliance. In 2010, Lohr received the Pro­fes­sion­al Excel­lence in Oenol­o­gy Award from the New York Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy, and in 2011 the Cal­i­for­nia Asso­ci­a­tion of Wine­grape Grow­ers (CAWG) hon­ored Lohr with a Life­time Achieve­ment Award. He was also named the 2011 Vol­un­teer of the Year by the Dis­trict VI Coun­cil for Advance­ment and Sup­port of Edu­ca­tion (CASE) and was award­ed the 2011 Mer­it Award from the Amer­i­can Soci­ety for Enol­o­gy and Viti­cul­ture. And, in 2017 Lohr was hon­ored with Wine Enthu­si­ast Magazine’s Amer­i­can Wine Leg­end Wine Star Award and with Wine Busi­ness Monthly’s Inno­va­tor of the Year Award. 

    To select the recip­i­ent of the Rich Smith Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice Award, all three orga­ni­za­tions and the Smith fam­i­ly sub­mit­ted nom­i­na­tions and, togeth­er with the pre­vi­ous win­ners, John Mar­ti­ni (Antho­ny Road Win­ery) and Pete Downs (Fam­i­ly Wine­mak­ers of Cal­i­for­nia), made the final selec­tion. It is not required that the recip­i­ent be asso­ci­at­ed with any of the three orga­ni­za­tions, just that he or she has made major con­tri­bu­tions to the Amer­i­can grape and wine indus­try while demon­strat­ing qual­i­ties con­sis­tent with Rich Smith’s mem­o­ry. The award spon­sors and Smith fam­i­ly are proud to hon­or Rich and encour­age a lega­cy of ser­vice wor­thy of his name. 


    Read more about Jer­ry and the award here.

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