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The Rochester Chapter of AWS was organized in 1968. At that time our meetings were held in the homes of members. An organizational meeting was held at the home of Konstantin Frank on Keuka Lake. Because of its location near the Finger Lakes wineries, the chapter and its members began a close association with the wineries and winemakers of the growing Finger Lakes Wine Region. Trips and meetings were at times held at the wineries.
Bob and Margie McGregor who owned a vineyard overlooking Keuka Lake were an integral part of the chapter and hosted many Regional meetings for the Western New York AWS Region. They hosted pig roasts and outdoor barbeques where the members refreshed themselves in the wonderful pond on the property. After turning Commercial the McGregor’s attention was diverted to wine enthusiasts who wanted to taste and purchase their wine so the chapter found other locations for the Regional Meetings.
The Rochester Chapter met monthly on the third Saturday of each month, with the exception of July and August, with the Regional Meeting taking place in July. For many years it was the most active and largest chapter in the AWS. When the group increased beyond the size to be accommodated in private homes, a relationship was established with a church with wonderful facilities and to this date, meetings continue to take at the Mountain Rise United Church of Christ in Fairport.
In the early part of the Society the National Officers were elected for a two-year term. Joe Nardone, Al Cristy, and Karl Northrup were elected President, Vice President and Secretary for the two-year term – 1979-1980. The officers were responsible for the organization of the yearly National conference. The Rochester Chapter hosted a 1979 conference in Rochester and a 1980 conference in Grand Island NY, near Buffalo. Karl Northrup and Tom Hammond were conference Chairpersons with John and Anne Stavisky procuring wines for the events.
In 1982 Angel Nardone was elected Executive Secretary of AWS and then Executive Director and stayed with the National Board until 2003 when she retired as Executive Director but continued until 2005 to assist with publishing.
The Stavisky’s chaired the 1992 conference in Rochester celebrating the 25
th anniversary of the National AWS. Heavily involved were Tom and Nancy Hammond, Karl and Nancy Northrup and Larry and Janet Lavery.