If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact the AWA at amadorwinemakers.org or fill out our Download Membership Form.

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Background

The Amador Winemakers Association (AWA) was founded in 2002 by Peggy and Mike Bellamy for the purpose of promoting interest in the art of home winemaking. The focus is on members helping members learn about the craft and continually improving upon winemaking skills.

 

Organization

AWA has a board of directors elected by the membership. The board consists of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Past President Advisor. The board serves for a two-year term. Elections are held in May in alternating years. There is also an Equipment Manager appointed by the board. The Equipment Manager is responsible for the oversight and maintenance of AWA wine making equipment. The board meets once a month to discuss club issues, to plan for special events, and to set the agenda for the monthly general meetings which are usually held at Marlene & Glen's diner in Plymouth the third Thursday of the month at 7pm.

 

Membership

Any person or couple who expresses an interest in the art of home wine making and has reached the age of 21 is eligible for membership. Membership covers up to two individuals. Dues are $50/year per membership, payable upon joining (prorated for new members) and on July 1st of each year. We have approximately 150 members. Our members hail from throughout Amador County, Mt. Aukum, El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Sacramento, Davis, and even Pleasanton and San Mateo. Member wine making experience ranges from new (never made wine before) to well over twenty years. Several members have their own vineyards, and a few members have gone on to commercial wine making ventures.

 

The Winemaking

Members have made many varieties of wine over the years including Zinfandel, Barbera, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Primitivo, Tempranillo, and Sauvignon Blanc. Some make their wine in 5 or 6 gallon glass carboys, while others use oak barrels, stainless steel or other containers. Some members have elaborate wine making facilities, while others make their wine in unconditioned garages. Some members have all of their own equipment. For those who don't, AWA has crusher de-stemmers, presses, filters, bottlers, and corkers available for loan at no charge. The equipment has been paid for and is maintained via member dues. Members are always on the lookout for good prices on bottles, equipment, supplies, and grapes. In the Spring of each year, membership votes on the variety of grape that will be purchased for our "Club Project". A volunteer determines the amount of grapes required based on membership demand (e.g., some members may want 250 pounds, others may want a half ton). The volunteer then coordinates the purchase of grapes with a local supplier. Members pay for their share of the grapes. On harvest day the grapes are transported from the vineyard and brought to a central location (for the past several years a member's home wine making facility) where AWA equipment is used to crush the grapes. After the crush is complete, everybody relaxes and the BBQ is fired up. Members take home their share of must (crushed grapes) that day, and begin their wine making tasks at home. In addition to the Club Project, many members have their own wine making projects using any number of grape varieties.

Activities

Monthly Meetings:
Members talk about club issues, winemaking techniques, and upcoming special events. Normally, a guest speaker is invited to address the members. This may be a local commercial winemaker or grape grower, a wine industry vendor, or a member. Members are encouraged to bring a bottle of their homemade wine to share. Snacks, provided by volunteer members, are available at the meetings.
Spring Fieldtrip:
Each Spring, usually April or May, interested members tour a wine region selected by a volunteer committee. AWA has visited Livermore Valley, Napa, Sonoma, Calaveras, and Paso Robles in recent years. The tour usually is a 2-3 day event.
Spring/Summer BBQ:
Usually held at a local winery in May or June. At our June 2015 BBQ, an intra-club wine competition was held. We hope to continue this competition at future BBQs.
Club Project/Crush:
See "The Winemaking" to the left.
Holiday Party:
Held in December. Location varies. Dinner, dancing, and fundraising. To date, over $12,000 in member contributions was raised for Raleys Food for Families program that benefits the Interfaith Food Bank. Raleys matched these donations, yielding over $24,000 in food for Amador County families in need.
Amador County Fair:
County Fair officials look to AWA members to organize and run the annual Home Wine Competition. The lead volunteer lines up all of the judges and ensures that the event runs smoothly. AWA sponsors prizes for Best Red Wine and Best Zinfandel.
Golden Bung Award Presentation:
This coveted award (a decorated cork necklace) is presented to an individual member or group at each general meeting. It is given for an outstanding winemaking feat or a positive contribution to the AWA such as volunteer work in support of an AWA event. It can also be given to a member who makes an outstanding winemaking blunder (the thought being that the blunder provides an educational opportunity for other members).
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