Nov 252014

On Friday, October 17th 2014, a group of 9 AWS members from the Worcester Chapter and Hudson Chapter rented a van and left Worcester headed for the Finger Lakes, New York. We stayed in a picturesque house on Lake Seneca for the weekend. On Saturday, we visited 7 wineries known for their critically acclaimed wines:

Seneca Lake

Keuka Lake

On Sunday, we ventured east to Cayuga Lake and visited 5 top quality wineries.

Cayuga Lake

Nearly all of our tastings were free of charge thanks to the AWS. In addition, we received 20%-30% discounts on our wine purchases.

We returned to Worcester on Monday, October 20th. Here are a few pictures from our fun weekend:

Nov 242014

David Falchek, the AWS Director of Memberships, has recently made available to all of its members a AWS Wine Education Library. The library consists of maps, PDF handouts, and PowerPoint presentations. If you’ve ever been interested in presenting a topic at one of our monthly education meetings, the AWS Wine Education Library is a good place to start.

Our chapter has donated all of our presentations to the library for the benefit of the other AWS chapters across the country.

Nov 242014

A wine-loving society

Written by Al Vuona · 06/27/2013 · Worcester Magazine

As Americans we love to join together with likeminded individuals to share common interests. That is certainly true about those of us who enjoy wine. Such was the impetus behind the American Wine Society, an organization founded in 1967 for those interested in learning about and sharing in all aspects of wine. Best of all, the Society has a local chapter right here in Worcester. The group has an online presence through, which helps people with shared interests plan events and facilitate off-line group meetings in various locations.

The Worcester chapter has been in existence for little over a year and has roughly 25 paying members. Yearly membership cost is $49 for individuals and $62 for households.

“We think it’s a great way for people to learn about wine,” says Peggy Ducheney, vice president of the AWS of Massachusetts and member of the Worcester group. As she puts it, “We want people to understand the fundamentals of wine appreciation in a casual, nonthreatening way.” The Worcester chapter hosts regular wine tastings and sponsors wine competitions as well as educational seminars.

To ensure that those attending are serious about wine and being a part of the group, the organization requires that after two meetings individuals become a full member of AWS. Unique among the group is that some members, like Decheney, make their own wine. In addition, the group selects and evaluates wines at various quality levels and price points. “This really makes it interesting for our members,” Decheney notes. As for women being a big part of the AWS, Decheney says, “Yes and the ranks of women who love wine are growing steadily. They bring enthusiasm and energy to the group.”

The group does not overlook the importance of the paring of wine and food. As Decheny explains, “Food and wine are the perfect marriage. It is the best way of evaluating any wine; all the characteristics and subtle nuances of a wine are accentuated when matched with food. Therefore, members are encouraged to bring an hors d’oeuvres to each tasting in an effort to match the wines to the food.”

As part of the education process the group evaluates wines by using a 20-point rating scale. A score of eight or less denotes a wine of lesser quality or deficient in some manner. A score of 12 or better is considered very good to outstanding. Discussion and analysis are always a big part of wine tasting and as Dechney points out, “Over time one’s palate becomes finely tuned. This enables a wine lover to uncover what makes for a great wine.”

Theresa Crump, recently elected Worcester chapter chairperson echoes similar sentiments. “We encourage both new and prospective members to ask lots of questions. It’s really all about sharing ideas with one another.” Like many people, Crump too has felt intimidated by the vast world of wine and admits that wine education is a lifelong process. “That’s why our approach is a slow build. We would rather have 10 lifelong members then a hundred who never attend gatherings,” she says.

Crump insists that social media sites such as have helped to attract younger wine lovers. “Those who have grown up with technology are searching online for organizations and people who share common interests. Ultimately, we strive to have a balance of both young and older members.”

Rather than overwhelm its members by tasting numerous wines at each meeting, the group prefers to sample one varietal at a time and focus their attention on that particular grape. “The discussions are centered on a particular wine and by the end of the tasting members come away feeling they have learned something. Sitting down with other wine lovers to share food and wine is really an attractive idea,” says Crump.

You would think all the wine tastings are held at formal venues, but you’d be wrong. Instead members take turns hosting a tasting in their home. This follows along with the idea of keeping it both casual and relaxed. “Of course it requires us to be diligent in whom we select as members,” says Crump. “We want our members to feel comfortable both as guests and as host.” Crump sums it with, “At the end of a day it’s about wine appreciation and not about getting drunk.”

Link to the original article.

Nov 242014

AWS members can now log into their profiles and print off personalized AWS membership cards!

If you’ve lost your card, it just takes a minute to log into the AWS website and print your membership card. After you log in, go to your Manage Profile page. There you will see the Membership Card icon to click under Information & Settings.

Nov 212014
AWS Wine Evaluation Form
The American Wine Society uses the 20 point evaluation scale. It assigns a certain number of points to each of five categories: Appearance, Aroma and Bouquet, Taste and Texture, Aftertaste, and Overall Impression. Wines are rated in each category and the total dictates the rating of the wine.

AWS Wine Evaluation Form
Editable AWS Wine Evaluation Form

AWS Tasting Guide
This guide gives detailed information about each of the AWS Wine Evaluation Form categories.

AWS Tasting Guide

June 14th 2014 Wine Evaluation Presentation
This presentation describes why we evaluate wine, gives some tips and factors to consider when evaluating wine, provides an overview of each of the categories of the AWS Wine Evaluation Form, and explains the difference between faults and flaws.

Wine Eval Jun 14 2014

Factors in Wine Evaluation
Factors Considered in Wine Evaluation by Alexis Hartung printed in the Winter Issue, 1999 AWS Journal Volume 31, No. 4. A valuable resource when trying to identify components of wine for evaluation using the AWS evaluation form.

Factors in Wine Evaluation

Wine Aroma Wheel
Start in the middle and select the sector that best describes your wine impression. Progressively move along that sector following descriptors that reflect your tasting impression. It’s possible to select more than sector if you have multiple impressions.

Wine Aroma Wheel

Wine Basics – A Beginner’s Guide to Drinking Wine
This page contains many useful resources that will round out your wine knowledge.
Beginner’s Guide to Wine
Nov 212014

I am excited to introduce you to our new blog and website. This is where we plan to share our upcoming events, thoughts, and latest AWS news.

In the future, we plan to phase out our use of Register with this website to receive invitations to events, automatic reminders, and the ability to RSVP.