Past AWSEF Scholarship Winners

Emily Terrell, MS

2007 Columbus, Ohio AWS Chapter Scholarship Winner and 2008 AWSEF Scholarship Winner while studying at the University of British Columbia


The generous award of the 2007 and 2008 AWSEF scholarships allowed me to focus on my M.Sc. research at the University of British Columbia under Dr. Hennie van Vuuren. At the time, I was investigating yeast’s biotin biosynthetic pathway and biotin status during fermentation. However, the metabolic diversity among industrial yeast strains uncovered during this project led to my thesis work, which investigated mixed Saccharomyces strain fermentations in a Pinot noir model system. This research spurred my interest in the wine industry itself, and following my M.Sc. thesis defense, I headed to Australia, where I worked my first harvest in the laboratory at Red Hills Estate on the Mornington Peninsula. My interest in crafting thoughtful research- and science-informed wines grew, and I spent three years working in various parts of the world, including the Okanagan Valley (Canada), Marlborough (NZ), Central Otago (NZ), the northern Rhone Valley (FR), and, finally, the northern Willamette Valley (Oregon), where I settled in 2012. Since that time, I have had the good fortune to work with one of my favorite varietals, Pinot noir, under a great mentor, Robert Brittan, in a setting committed to crafting site-expressive wines of the highest caliber. Our small company, a partnership between Brittan Vineyards and Winderlea Wine Company, has fostered my growth and development from Intern to Cellar Supervisor to my current position as Assistant Winemaker. Although I no longer professionally engage in research science, I firmly believe that the skills I acquired during graduate training continue to significantly contribute to my success in the wine industry. Thus, I very much appreciate the AWSEF’s contribution to my studies and it is my hope that the foundation will continue to graciously support graduate students through their scholarship program.

Michelle Moyer, PhD

2006 Lucio Sorre Memorial Scholarship (Banfi) and 2007 Eastern PA AWS Regional Scholarship Winner while studying at Cornell University

I received my PhD in Plant Pathology from Cornell University, where I looked at how powdery mildew of grape developed and progressed in the vineyard. Working in the Finger Lakes, and spending two seasons in South Australia, really helped form a love of viticulture and production logistics. From this experience, I knew I wanted to continue my research focus on grapes, but also wanted to extend my efforts in Extension and Outreach. In 2011, I joined the Horticulture faculty at Washington State University as an Assistant Professor and Statewide Viticulture Extension Specialist. My Extension responsibilities cover all aspects of grape production (juice grapes, wine grapes, and processing grapes) in Washington. This entails the creation of education materials for viticulture, instructing courses in both the Viticulture and the Enology Certificate Programs, the development of educational workshops, and the timely dissemination of information to growers to help improve production practices. My industry-driven research responsibilities focus on applied aspects of canopy management on fruit quality and vine health, mechanized approaches to production, and integrated vineyard management with an emphasis on pest management.

More information on specific Extension and Research programming can be found at:

Renee Threlfall, PhD 

1994 and 1994 AWSEF Scholarship Recipient while studying at University of Arkansas

Dr. Renee Threlfall is a Research Scientist and Adjunct Faculty at the Food Science Department, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. At the University of Arkansas, she completed her B.S. in Microbiology and M.S. and Ph.D. in Food Science with an 

emphasis in enology and viticulture.  In 1994, she was honored to be one of the first recipients of an American Wine Society Scholarship, which has contributed to her continued interest in the grape and wine industry.

Her research efforts at the University of Arkansas are focused on specialty crops with expertise in enology and viticulture, as well as processing and postharvest storage of fruit (grapes, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, etc.). She has over 40 refereed journal publications. She teaches an introduction enology and viticulture class, Uncorked: Vines to Wines, at the University of Arkansas each fall and teaches enology, viticulture and sensory topics for grape and wine production in other Food Science classes. 

Dr. Threlfall is a member of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture (ASEV), ASEV-Eastern Section and the American Wine Society.  She serves as the Administrator for the ASEV-Eastern Section with duties that include annual conference planning and the management of the organization.  Dr. Threlfall is also a member of the Arkansas Association of Grape Growers and serves on the Arkansas Wine Producers Council.                                                                                                                                                                                          Updated 03Sept18kgl

Patty Skinkis, PhD  

2004 and 2005 AWSEF Scholarship Recipient While Studying at Purdue University

Dr. Skinkis says, "I feel very fortunate to have received a scholarship from the American Wine Society Educational Foundation during my graduate studies at Purdue University. Having the support was helpful beyond its monetary value. I was impressed that organizations such as AWS were willing to support the educational endeavors of students as they advanced into careers as professional viticulturists and enologists. I especially appreciated the opportunity to speak with the AWS at their annual conference in November 2004 in State College, PA. It was there that I was warmly welcomed by the AWSEF board and the other AWS members who were excited to hear about my PhD research studies. I also appreciated the opportunity to write about my research for the AWS magazine in the years that followed.

After graduating with my PhD in Horticulture (Viticulture) from Purdue in 2006, I was off to Oregon State University where I started my position as Viticulture Extension Specialist and assistant professor in January 2007. In this position, I work within the three missions of the land grant university, providing Extension programming, conducting research, and teaching undergraduate and graduate students. My primary role has been to provide education and outreach to the winegrape industry and to provide them with new information from applied research projects that are designed to address production issues. During the 11 years that I have been at Oregon State University, I have conducted integrated research and outreach programs that focus on yield management and canopy management. One of my long-term projects has been addressing the yield-quality paradigm, trying to scientifically determine whether lowering yields enhances fruit and wine quality, and how yield modification changes fruit composition. To date, I have engaged more than 20 commercial Pinot noir producers in the study over a six year period, and the results are helping the industry redefine their yield management goals for premium quality Pinot noir wines. Our results show that site is more important than crop yield, and reducing crop level through cluster thinning does not universally increase fruit and wine quality parameters. As we continue to work on the project, we continue to question how and why crop manipulation may lead to differences in quality in some but not all vineyards or seasons.

I truly enjoy working with the winegrape industry in Oregon, the US, and worldwide. The industry is more diverse than any other horticultural crop, and there are endless opportunities for scientific inquiry in what we do in the vineyard and winery. I thank the AWSEF for their support and for their ardent support of the industry’s future leaders."                                                                                    Updated27Aug18kgl

Elwyn A. Gladstone, MS

1998 AWSEF Scholarship Recipient While Studying at University of California-Davis

Mr. Gladstone shared this with us, "From 1993-1997 I studied at Edinburgh University where I got a BSc (1st Class) in Crop Sciences - while studying, I also worked part-time in a wine store and became extremely interested in wines and spirits.  I was extremely fortunate to receive a number of scholarships to attend UC Davis which I did from 1997-1998 - University of California, Davis (MS) in Viticulture.  At UC Davis, I worked with Dr. Nick Dokoozlian on my thesis about light interception in grapevine canopies and had the paper published in AJEV.

I took a slight diversion away from academia and went to work in the UK from 1998-2001 for H.P.Bulmer, the owner of famous cider brands such as Strongbow in Hereford, England.  There, I worked as a Brand Manager on the development of new, high quality cider brands.  From there, I went into the world of spirits from 2001-2007 - Wm Grant and Sons - based in London and then New York where I was Head of New Brand Development - working on the development of brands such as Hendrick’s Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Reyka Vodka and many others.  Next, I went to work at a newly formed company - from 2007-2015 - I was the CMO at Proximo Spirits - part of the Jose Cuervo Company where we developed existing brands such as 1800 Tequila, Jose Cuervo as well as created new brands such as Kraken Rum and Tin Cup Whiskey. 

I had always wanted to start my own business and build a brand that I owned myself and from 2015-Present - I started up Biggar and Leith - where I created and launched MALFY Gin and SPYTAIL Rum.  I sell these brands in over 50 countries around the world and throughout the USA. 

I am married to Charlotte and have two children - Isla and Elwyn; we live in New Jersey."                Updated 20Aug18kgl

Steven Marko, MS

2001 AWSEF Scholarship Recipient While Studying at California State University, Fresno

Mr. Marko sent us this update, "A huge thank you to the AWSEF and its scholarship program.  With my award in 2001, I was able to continue my education, research, and complete my M.S. degree at California State University, Fresno.  As a graduate student, I had to leave my career to attend school full-time, and the scholarship awards help in every way.   With the help of AWSEF, I was able to study aromatic compounds in wine oak barrels, and the affect ozone sanitation may have on them.  This research also helped strengthen the procedure to analyze headspace volatiles using solid phase extraction; a procedure commonly used today.  Essentially, looking at all the great aromas in wine that come from barrel aging!  It was exciting research and the publication was very well received by many winemakers and owners within the industry.

Today, I continue to study food science and lead a team of product developers as Senior Director of Research & Development at Tillamook County Creamery Association.  We produce quality crafted cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and many other dairy products from our farmer owned association.   I still make wine as a hobby at my home in Portland, OR, and share my joys of science and cooking with my wife, Claire and my 8 year old daughter Nora.

Sincere thank you to AWSEF for helping me achieve such a fulfilling and rewarding career!"

Publication: Marko SD, ES Dormedy, KC Fugelsang, DF Dormedy, B Gump, RL Wample.  2005.  Analysis of Oak Volatiles by Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) After Ozone SanitizationAmer Journal Enology Viticulture, 56(1).