Press release Davis, CA

E.B. “Pete” Downs Recognized with ASEV’s Prestigious Merit Award

Consulting Enologist and Retired Senior Vice President E.B. “Pete” Downs of Kendall-Jackson Winery joins a prestigious group of wine and grape industry leaders to receive the American Society for Enology and Viticulture’s (ASEV) Merit Award for outstanding contribution to the Society and the industry. Downs will receive the 2015 Merit Award following his presentation, “Politics and Wine – Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!” on Thursday, June 18, at the 66th ASEV National Conference in Portland, Oregon.

As the external affairs senior vice president for Kendall-Jackson Winery, Downs worked with legislators, regulators and other members of the industry on a local, state, national and international level. He served as an advisor for vital industry issues such as wine shipment regulations, and his efforts were pivotal in winning USDA funding for research and control of the spread of the Glassy-winged sharpshooters and Pierce’s disease. He was also part of the World Wine Trade Group that worked to minimize international trade barriers through international labeling requirements.

Downs served as ASEV president from 1991 to 1992 and has been an active member since 1973, holding several positions, including secretary/treasurer (1985-87 and 1995-99), membership committee chair and public relations committee chair, and he was a member of the Unified Symposium organizing committee. His professional membership affiliations include Wine America, Family Winemakers of California, Sonoma County Wineries Association, Coalition for Free Trade, World Wine Trade Group and the International Federation of Wines and Spirits.  He was appointed by California’s secretary of agriculture to the Pierce’s Disease Glassy-winged Sharpshooter Board, and has served as a legislative committee chair for Family Winemakers of California, as well as the international committee chair for the American Vintners Association.

“It’s an honor to be part of shaping the wine and grape landscape, and seeing its growth and evolution,” says Downs. “It’s gratifying to see that the decisions, work and investment my colleagues and I made are paying dividends today in an increasingly dynamic, complex and vital wine industry.”

Each year, the ASEV presents the Merit Award to an individual who has significantly contributed in an outstanding manner to the progress and advancement of enology and viticulture in the industry and/or to the Society. The award acknowledges excellence in the fields of education, technology, management, public relations or any discipline related to enology and viticulture.

The ASEV National Conference was established in 1950 as an annual meeting by a committee of industry and academic representatives, comprised of founding leaders such as Maynard Amerine, James Guymon, Joseph Heitz, Louis P. Martini, Harold Olmo, Andre Tchelistcheff, A.W. Webb and A. J. Winkler. The event serves as the wine and grape industry’s platform for progress, offering a unique combination of continued professional education in regard to scientific rigor and fundamental practice. The diverse and comprehensive program includes seminars addressing topics of daily experience in the winery and vineyard as well as reports and updates on original research, and enology and viticulture work in progress.

Open to all industry and academic representatives, the National Conference provides an ideal opportunity for networking among members of all U.S. wine and grape regions as well as international experts and professionals. Click here for the latest information about the 66th National Conference.