CCOVI researcher named Chair-elect of prestigious wine society

A researcher at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture (CCOVI) Institute has been elected to a new role with a respected wine industry organization.

Jim Willwerth has been named as the new Chair-elect for the American Society for Enology and Viticulture-Eastern Section (ASEV-ES). He will serve in that capacity until the end of the year, before taking over the Chairman’s role from the out-going Chair in 2021.

“I’m very excited to be elected as Chair-elect and to continue to be involved with this great organization,” he says. “It is great to give back to the Society and help stimulate research, promote education and support the grape and wine sector of eastern section of North America.”

ASEV-ES is a society of professionals from wineries, vineyards, academic institutions and organizations. It is dedicated to the interests of enologists, viticulturists and others in the fields of wine and grape research and production throughout the world.

Willwerth has served on ASEV-ES’s Board of Directors since 2012 and was also the Treasurer for five years before being elected to his current position.

Some of his specific responsibilities this year will involve working with the society’s local organizers for their planned annual meeting/conference in July 2021 and chairing its by-law committee to review and amend the society’s by-laws and constitution.

He says the volunteer work he took on through ASEV-ES, as well as his research and outreach at Brock, has attuned him to the needs of the grape and wine industry in eastern North America and positions him well for this new role.

During his time at CCOVI, Willwerth has formed close ties with the grape and wine industry through his work on several significant research projects, including VineAlert, an advanced cold hardiness database that helps Ontario grape growers develop improved winter protection strategies for vineyards.

CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis expressed her congratulations to Willwerth on this new opportunity.

“We are so pleased to see that Jim has been elected to this new role and is taking on this new challenge,” she says. “His breadth of viticulture experience and extensive mentorship roles will undoubtedly serve him well, and we look forward to seeing how he applies that knowledge to serve the needs of the ASEV-ES membership and further advance our industry as a whole.”

While COVID-19 has presented a number of unforeseen challenges, Willwerth says he looks forward to overcoming those obstacles while working to also expand the reach and capacity of the organization in the future.

“My overall goal is to continue to improve the sustainability and impact of ASEV-ES through increased membership and activities,” he says. “There are a number of opportunities we are looking at, including building our student scholarship program and creating a more sustainable funding model, and finding new and innovative ways to provide more benefits to our membership.”

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