James (Jim) Trezise has been President of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation since its creation in 1985, and has been involved with the industry since 1982. The Foundation is a private, not-for-profit organization which sponsors research and conducts promotion programs in support of New York grapes, grape juice and wine. The Foundation’s research and promotion programs have received international recognition, as has its close and productive partnership with the State of New York.
Most recently, largely due to the Foundation’s work over the years, New York State was named 2015 “Wine Region of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast magazine as part of its Wine Star Awards. Other contenders were Champagne, France; Chianti, Italy; Sonoma Coast, California; and Red Mountain, Washington.
Jim is also widely recognized for his leadership in the broader American wine industry, having received six national awards or other recognition for his many contributions: The “Grand Award” of the Society of Wine Educators in 2014; one of “The 20 Most Admired People in the American Wine Industry” in 2013 based on a survey by Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine; the Wine Integrity Award in 2006 from the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission; the first-ever “Distinguished Service Award” in 2001 from the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (Eastern Section); the Perpetual Monteith Trophy (Thomas Jefferson Cup) in 1995 from the Vinifera Winegrowers Association; and recognition by “Wines & Vines” magazine as one of the “top 50 movers and shakers” in the United States wine industry. In addition, in 2014 he received the coveted “Chairman’s Award” of the New York Wine & Culinary Center.
Jim is actively involved with several national and international organizations focusing on key issues affecting the grape and wine industry worldwide. He is Founder and President of the International Riesling Foundation, a coalition of top Riesling producers from around the world seeking to promote Riesling and educate consumers. He serves on the Presidential Council of FIVS (formerly Fédération Internationale des Vins et Spiritueux — International Federation of Wines and Spirits) based in Paris. He also serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of WineAmerica, the national organization of American wineries; as a Board member of the National Grape and Wine Initiative; as a Board member of the Wine Market Council; and previously served as Director of Communications for the International Organization of Vines and Wines in Paris. He is a frequent speaker on major issues at conferences throughout the United States, as well as a professional wine judge at more than a dozen international competitions, and the author of articles which have appeared in The New York Times and other media.
Prior to his appointment as the Foundation’s President, Jim had been involved with the New York grape and wine industry for three years, first as Executive Director of the New York State Wine Grape Growers, and then as President of the New York Wine Council representing both growers and vintners. His career includes more than 30 years of communications consulting, public relations, advertising, public policy, and strategic planning. He holds a masters degree in International Communications from American University in Washington, DC, and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Allegheny College.
A native New Yorker from Rochester, Jim lived in France for three years prior to his involvement with the New York grape and wine industry. He now lives on Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes wine region.