United Sommeliers Foundation Announces the Creation of the Debbie Lewis Scholarship: Women in Wine
April 30, 2021
New York, NY April 29, 2021 -The United Sommeliers Foundation, a charitable organization formed to support those in the wine industry negatively impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, is honored to announce today the creation of the Debbie Lewis Scholarship for women looking to continue their upper level wine education and are in need of financial assistance.
Debbie had a lasting effect on the community of Napa Valley: She helped found Lewis cellars with husband Randy and displayed her passion for winemaking by developing some of the best wines in the region. Right before her passing in 2017, Lewis Cellars was awarded the 2016 Wine Spectator ‘Wine of the Year’ award for their 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. Debbie had a life-long passion for mastering the business of wine and set an inspiring example of dedication and hard work to all those around her.
The selected recipients will receive $5,000 from the United Sommeliers Foundation in conjunction with Randy Lewis of Lewis Cellars. Applicants will be considered for earning one of the following accreditations: Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced or Masters title, WSET Diploma or Masters title, Undergrad Wine Business or MBA University degree, and UC Davis degrees related to winemaking, viticulture & enology. The scholarship is for women only, studying in the US, and pursuing certification in wine-related fields.
“When I heard that Randy Lewis was interested in working with the United Sommeliers Foundation to establish a scholarship in Debbie’s name, I was quickly filled with joy,” says Chris Blanchard, Treasurer & Co-Founder of United Sommeliers Foundation. “Debbie and Randy were frequent guests at REDD in Yountville, where I was the wine director and I always loved Debbie’s energy and enthusiasm for life. It is an honor to help Randy honor her name by providing such a generous scholarship to a sommelier in great need.”
Created during the global COVID-19 crisis, The United Sommeliers Foundation has a core mission to financially aid those in the wine community—primarily sommeliers and others within the hospitality sector of the industry—who are experiencing a pause or termination of employment due to circumstances beyond their control. A rapid response to the needs of the sommelier community in America, the fundraiser’s founding team includes a handful of Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine, and other beverage professionals.
“I am very excited to work with the United Sommeliers Foundation in Debbie’s name. Our friends in the sommelier community were and are a big part of Lewis Cellars’ success in the wine business. This is a great opportunity to give back,” says Randy Lewis, Co-Founder of Lewis Cellars. “I hope this helps women in the wine community to continue to succeed in these tough times and beyond. By supporting women in wine, Debbie’s commitment to family, friends and the wine community, her strength and courage, and her quiet dedication and hard work will be remembered.”
The United Sommeliers Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that is in the process of filing an application for federal tax exempt status with the IRS. If the organization receives a favorable Determination Letter from the IRS, its status as a 501(c)(3) organization will relate back to its date of inception and all contributions made to the corporation since inception will qualify as tax-deductible charitable donations.
About United Sommeliers Foundation
The United Sommeliers Foundation is a charitable organization whose mission is to provide immediate financial assistance to Sommeliers experiencing a pause or termination of employment due to circumstances beyond their control. The organization assists sommeliers nationwide and was founded by several of the industry’s leading experts with more than 100 years combined experience and knowledge. The organization’s goal is to positively impact the wine industry and the sommelier community for years to come. Please visit www.unitedsommeliersfoundation.org for more information.
About Lewis Cellars
Lewis Cellars is hands-on in every aspect of vineyard management, winemaking, sales and distribution, and they thrive on these challenges and the relationships cultivated in the process. It is their continuing goal to create world-class wines. Total production is approximately 10,000 cases annually of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.