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Their glasses are always half full

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Whether you fancy Chardonnay or a Cabernet Sauvignon, sparkling or still, red or white or the Napa Valley or prefer Bordeaux, the American Wine Society Lone Star Chapter has you covered.

Lone Star Chapter president Diane Szydlik of Double Oak said the AWS was started in 1967 by Dr. Konstantin Frank of the Finger Lakes in New York and is the oldest and largest consumer-based wine education organization in the United States.

“We have people of all levels of wine expertise in our group,” Szydlik said. “Whenever we taste and rate wines, conversation about the wines occurs naturally among members. This is how people can really learn about tastes, aromas, viscosity and general characteristics of the wines being tasted and rated.”

The Lone Star Chapter of the AWS had its initial meeting in January 2011, at which time it had 19 members, and Szydlik said it has grown to 36 members in just eight months.

“I have been very pleasantly surprised with the level of interest and the participation of all of my members,” Szydlik said. “They are all truly amazing people that I would have hand-picked to have as friends. They are a fun, friendly and intelligent individuals who enjoy wine, food, travel and the good life.”

Among Szydlik’s duties as chapter president are to schedule monthly tastings and/or events, help and support members when they decided to host a wine-tasting events to assure that they are successful  and to report the results of the chapters’ tasting ratings, along with a brief summary of the events that members host to the national organization.

“I am continually learning about wine from my members at all of our events,” Szydlik said. “I am not a wine expert, and I do not do all of the teaching or facilitating. We all take our turns. When a person hosts an event, it is imperative that they research their wines and are able to give some information about them in order to introduce them to others.

“So, one learns quite a bit from hosting a tasting. However, most of the learning that occurs happens while we are rating the wines that we are tasting.”

Szydlik, who recently accepted the position of Regional Vice President for the state of Texas, which will allow her to serve as a liaison between the national and Lone Star Chapters, counts New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, whites from Burgundy, and Torrontes from Argentina among her personal favorites.

Yearly dues rates for the Lone Start chapter of the AWS are $49 for singles and $62 per couple/ family.

Lantana residents Trey Johnson and his wife, Adrienne, are members of the Lone Star chapter of the AWS, and Johnson said they joined for a couple of reasons.

“We decided to join the chapter because we both wanted to learn more about wines – the science of wine making, the pairing of different varietals with foods, which varietals grow well in the various wine growing countries around the world and so forth,” Johnson said. “There is so much out there that one can learn about wines just here in the U.S. Couple that with the many great wines and wine regions around the world, and it can be overwhelming to the average person.

“The AWS provides wine lovers with the forum to learn as little or as much about wines here and abroad as you want to learn. That appealed to us. Being able to socialize with people with the same interests is just a bonus, and we have met some really great people in our short time in our chapter.”

Contact Szydlik at awslonestar@aol.com to join or learn more about the local chapter.

Visit www.americanwinesociety.org for more information on the AWS.

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