American Wine Society - Arkansas Chapter

The American Wine Society–Arkansas Chapter was a non-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge about—and the cultivation of an appreciation of—wine and its role in culture and cuisine.

The American Wine Society–Arkansas Chapter was co-founded on May 16, 2005, by Robert G. Cowie and Mary Jane Cains in Ozark (Franklin County). Cowie is the founder and owner of Cowie Wine Cellars in Paris (Logan County), while Cains is from the family of the Mount Bethel Winery of Altus (Franklin County). When the national society was created in 1967, Al Wiederkehr of Wiederkehr Wine Cellars in Altus was a member of the organizing meeting. He and Justin Morris of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) were honorary co-chairmen of the state chapter.

The chapter was dedicated to sharing and teaching wine knowledge and the correct use of wine in daily life. The group met four times a year at locales across the state, holding sessions on developing one’s palate and learning how to pair wine with certain meals, as well as enjoying fellowship and tasting wines from across the state and world. The national American Wine Society helps to facilitate events hosted by local chapters and publishes the quarterly American Wine Society Journal and American Wine Society News. The national organization sponsors scholarships for students in enology and viticulture at the college level.

The Arkansas chapter had approximately fifty members throughout Arkansas and a few members from other states. The organization was open to anyone who has an interest in learning about the merits of wine and its enjoyment. As of 2011, the chapter is defunct, though several members of the American Wine Society continue to be active in Arkansas.

For additional information:
American Wine Society. (accessed September 14, 2022).

“American Wine Society Makes Arkansas Debut.” Mount Bethel Winery. (accessed September 14, 2022).

Robert G. Cowie
Arkansas Historic Wine Museum


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