Who’s the top wine, spirits or beer professional in the country?
You’ll find them among The James Beard Foundation’s 2013 list of semifinalists for its annual award, the nation’s most prestigious recognition program honoring professionals in the food and beverage industries.
Finalists will be announced March 18 and the award will be presented on May 6 at Avery Fisher Hall at New York City’s Lincoln Center.
The James Beard Foundation is a New York City-based foodies’ organization, named for the late cookbook author, educator and champion ofAmerican cuisine. The Beard Foundation offers a variety of events and programs designed to educate, inspire, entertain, and foster a deeper understanding of American culinary culture.
The list of semi-finalists, in alphabetical order:
- Sam Calagione, founder and president of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Del.
- Ron Cooper, president of Del Maguey Single Village Mescal, Taos, N.M.
- John and Kathe Dyson, owners of Williams Selyem Winery, Healdsburg, Calif.
- Merry Edwards, owner and winemaker at Merry Edwards Winery, Sebastopol, Calif.
- Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield, founders and owners of Vanberg & DeWulf beer importers, Cooperstown, N.Y.
- Mike Floyd, Nick Floyd and Simon Floyd, co-founders of Three Floyds Brewing, Munster, Ind.
- Chuck Furuya, master sommelier at DK Restaurants, Maui, Hi.
- Manfred Krankl, founder and winemaker at Sine Qua Non, Ventura, Calif.
- Ted Lemon, owner and winemaker at Littorai Wines, Sebastopol, Calif.
- Stephen McCarthy, proprietor of Clear Creek Distillery, Portland, Ore.
- Duncan Meyers and Nathan Roberts, proprietors and winemakers at Arnot-Roberts, Healdsburg, Calif.
- Garrett Oliver, brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, N.Y.
- Tom Peters, owner of Monk’s Cafe, specialty beer café, Philadelphia, Pa.
- Neal Rosenthal, founder of Rosenthal Wine Merchant, wine importers, New York, N.Y.
- Jörg Rupf, founder and distiller at St. George Spirits, Alameda, Calif.
- Eric Seed, owner of Haus Alpenz, spirits importers, Edina, Minn.
- Eric Solomon, founder of Eric Solomon Selections – European Cellars, wine importers, Charlotte, N.C.
- Harlan Wheatly, master distiller at Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, Ky.
- Sean Lilly Wilson, founder of Fullsteam Brewery, Durham, N.C.
- David Wondrich, spirits educator, Brooklyn, N.Y.
The 2012 award winner in the category was Paul Greico, owner of Terroir Wine Bar in New York City.
The nominations were derived from an online open call for entries that began in mid-October. This year, more than 44,000 entries were received, a list which the foundation’s restaurant and chef committee reviews to determine eligibility and regional representation. Based on the results and eligibility requirements for each award, the committee then produces a nominating ballot that lists the semifinalists in each of the 20 restaurant and chef awards categories, which include outstanding wine, spirits, or beer professional. The list of semifinalist nominees is then sent to an independent volunteer panel of more than 600 judges from across the country. This panel, which includes leading regional restaurant critics, food and wine editors, culinary educators, and past James Beard Foundation winners, votes on specific award categories to determine final five nominees in each category. The same judges then vote on these five nominees to select the winners. The governing awards committee, board of trustees, and staff of the James Beard Foundation do not vote, and the results are kept confidential until the presentation of winners on May 6.