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Virginia Wineries Association Awards

 The growth of the Virginia wine industry is due to the outstanding contributions of individuals who diligently work on behalf of the wine community. Each year at the Governor's Cup Gala, we pay tribute to the significant contributions of these individuals by presenting two awards. We accept nominations throughout the year for both awards.

  • The Gordon Murchie Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual for meritorious service to the Virginia wine industry over a long period of time.
  • The VWA Wine Person of the Year is presented to a person (or persons) deserving recognition for service to the wine industry over the preceding year.
  •  David King Advocate of the Year Award is given to the individual that “does the work” and demonstrates significant involvement in advocacy efforts on behalf of the Virginia Wine Industry.

  2019 Award Recipients


Mitzi Batterson of James River Cellars was recognized as the 2019 Virginia Wineries Association Wine Person of the Year.  Mitzi is a graduate of William and Mary University and has a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Virginia.  She joined the family business in 2005, and now runs James River Cellars with her husband James.  Mitzi is a former President of the Virginia Wineries Association and was a leader of that organization during the revamping the Governor’s Cup Competition. Mitzi was also involved with the start of the Virginia Wine Co-op. 

Currently, she is an officer on the Virginia Wineries Association board as Treasurer; she is a member of the Governor’s appointed Virginia Wine Board; and is the Chair of the Legislative Collective.  She was instrumental in the recent transition of the legislative affairs program to the association. Her knowledge of all things Virginia wine and willingness to tackle challenges has helped the Virginia industry continue to grow. 


Also recognized by the Virginia Wineries Association is Jim Corcoran, of Corcoran Vineyards, for the Gordon Murchie Lifetime Achievement Award*. Jim started Corcoran Vineyards with his wife, Lori in 2002. He was instrumental in the creation of the Virginia Wine Distribution Company, which would revolutionize the way that smaller wineries in the commonwealth could sell their wines to restaurants and stores. He served on its board for many years.  Jim also helped form the Virginia Wine Council and, as Chairman, he spent countless days in Richmond working alongside our state legislators. Since 2010 he has served on the Board of Directors for the Loudon Chamber of Commerce, representing the Virginia Wine Industry in one of its fastest growing areas.

True champions of our industry, both Mitzi Batterson and Jim Corcoran embody the spirit of Virginia Wine with passion, presence, and enthusiasm.

- Photo Credit to Virginia Wine Marketing Office - 

David King Advocate of the Year Award (will be presented for the 1st time in 2020). See the source image

David was a valuable member of the Virginia wine community and an ardent and constant advocate for Virginia’s Wine industry. He dedicated significant time, energy, expertise, and passion to defend, protect, grow and fight for the Virginia wine industry. He helped shape some of our industry's most important institutions and legislation, including the Virginia Wholesale Distribution Company and the Farm Winery Act. He lobbied at the General Assembly, using his legal expertise to review, interpret, shape, and write legislation.  He strategized on countless issues and could deal with, and was respected by, the wholesale industry.

He assisted the industry in countless ways. He always said, "Someone has to do the work" and he pushed himself and others to be better and do more. We all need to step up "and do the work" to continue to help our industry mature, strengthen and grow.

The David King Advocate of the Year Award will be given to the individual that “does the work” and demonstrates significant involvement in advocacy efforts on behalf of the Virginia Wine Industry.

To nominate someone for these awards, please complete the following information. 


2711 Buford Road #174
Bon Air, VA 23235