The Wine Librarians Association

Dedicated to making wine information accessible and to preserving the history of wine

WLA – Annual Meeting 11/2002

Minutes of the Annual Meeting 1 NOVEMBER, 2002
Wine Institute, San Francisco, California

Host: Robert Zerkowitz

Convening:  The meeting got under way shortly after 9:00 AM.  In attendance: Alev Akman, Bo Simons, Gail Unzelman, Tom Pinney, Elliott Mackey, Susan Visser, Nancy Cunningham, Mart Schlabach, Mary Jean Welser, Norma Kobzina, Nina Wemyss, Stephen Krebs

1.  Members introduced themselves and told what was happening at their institutions:
Robert Zerkowitz is in charge of the Wine Institute Library, its historical archives, and photographic images (among other duties).  He has been with the Wine Institute, a public policy organization, for nine years.  Since his arrival, Robert has straightened up and made more accessible some forty, four drawer file cabinets of the Institute’s archives.  He also has available to researchers and Wine Institute members numerous historical photographs and images in digital form.

Stephen Krebs is the Viticulture and Enology Program Co ordinator at Napa Valley College.  To accompany his own modest wine library, he is interested in building the program’s collection of wine literature.

Marty Schlabach, Librarian, Frank Lee Library, Ithaca, and Mary Jean Welser, research support specialist in the Plant Anatomy Laboratory,  Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, were welcomed.  Both outlined their work at the University’s two campuses (Ithaca and Geneva).  Cornell has 19 libraries to support their many programs, including viticulture, enology, hotel administration, plant anatomy, etc.  Cornell University houses “The Eastern Wine & Grape Archive, preserving the Heritage of the Eastern Wine Industry.”  In this collection are the papers and books of Philip Wagner, Konstantin Frank, and the Taylor family, among others.  A descriptive brochure was passed to all in attendance.

Tom Pinney, wine historian, announced that “Part II” of his History of Wine in America is finished.  This text covers from Prohibition to the present day.  Date of publication is not known, but the manuscript is to go to U.C. Press (who published “Part I”).

Elliott Mackey, of the Wine Appreciation Guild (the only U.S. specialty publisher on wine), described the activities of the W.A.G., a 30 year old publishing firm of wine books that began with the acquisition of the books and publishing rights of the old Wine Advisory Board.  Such wine related topics as cook books, wine and health, travel, history of wine, technical, etc. are published — over 50 titles are now in print.  He noted a history of T.V. Munson is in the works.   W.A.G. also is a leading distributer of some 1000 titles for other publishers, which are listed in their catalogue, Vindex.  A new, updated Vindex is forthcoming.

Nina Wemyss is the “wine, art, and history” researcher for Robert Mondavi Winery, where she also assists in keeping the family archives.  She has been with the Mondavis for 17 years, and now lectures worldwide and at the winery every Friday (when schedules permit).  When asked about the library at COPIA, she told the group it is small, and does not know if they are interested in adding to the collection.

Alev Akman has been librarian at the Petrucci Library at the Viticulture and Enology Research Center, California state University, Fresno, for two years.  The library is a specialized, research oriented facility with some 700 books plus modern day periodicals.  (The older books, more concerned with “the history of wine” are in the Madden Library on campus.)

Gail Unzelman introduced herself as a “private librarian” — overseeing her collection of some 4000 wine books and pamphlets, and numerous wine related ephemeral materials such as postcards, advertisements, photographs, letterheads, etc.  She is editor and publisher of the Wayward Tendrils Quarterly, the journal of a society of wine book collectors (some 160 members) from around the world.  Her interest in California wine history is deep, and she has co written and published two California wine histories with Ernest Peninou, who, she announced, regrettably passed away October 23, 2002.

Norma Kobzina is the librarian for the Bioscience and Natural Resources Library at the University of California, Berkeley.  She has been with the UC Berkeley library system for 20 years.  She noted their “George Hall Cook Book Collection” that supports the school’s nutritional sciences program.  The wine books from Mr. Hall’s library went to U.C. Davis, while the older, rarer books went to the Bancroft.  She described USAIN (U.S. Agriculture Information Network), an agricultural librarians group interested in the “preservation of the literature of agriculture and rural life, 1820 1945.”

Nancy Cunningham recently moved from Texas to Sonoma County and is the Reference Services Coordinator, Schulz Information Center (library) at Sonoma State University.  The Sonoma State collection of wine literature focuses on supporting their wine business program.

Susan Visser has been the librarian for Gallo Winery for nine years.  Located in Modesto, this library of some 4000 books and 200 journals is a private library maintained to assist the winery staff, including research, technical, and business matters.  The library was begun in the 1960s when Charles Crawford donated his collection of wine books to the winery.  The collection has grown with similar donations.  Pat Hall is the winery archivist, overseeing a vast collection of Gallo Winery labels and historical artifacts.

Bo Simons, wine librarian at the Sonoma County Wine Library in Healdsburg, CA.  This library, a public / private partnership —supported by the wine growers and the public library system— opened its doors in 1988.  The collection now has some 5000 volumes and subscribes to 80 periodicals.  The library’s extensive “clipping file” is on the web at  Bo is seeking funds elsewhere to maintain and update the file.

2.    Business:
Wine Librarians Association.  Bo Simons was asked to give a brief review of how the Wine Librarians Association came about.  Tammy Lau, archivist at the Henry Madden Library, U.C. Fresno, launched the group in 1995 96 when a small group met at U.C. Davis.  Since that time, Spring and Fall meetings have been held at U.C. Fresno, Sonoma State University, Napa Valley Wine Library, Sonoma County Wine Library.  Incorporation began in 2000, with Julie Dickson, on the Napa Valley Wine Library Board, Clayla Davis, retired NVWL librarian, and Bo Simons handling the details.  Final papers for Tax Exempt Status and IRS approval are being arranged.   Dues are $20 yearly.  Our first “project” is to be the publication of “The Brady Book.”  (More discussion on this and possible other projects followed later in the meeting.)

Mission Statement: Robert Zerkowitz brought up for discussion our “mission statement.”  Bo read the five points listed in”Article II: Purposes” of the By Laws:  (1) Dissemination of information to the public pertaining to librarianship, bibliography, access, storage and retrieval of information related to the growing of grapes and the making, history, and enjoyment of wine; (2) exchange of information among librarians and book collectors regarding their professional management of information and book collections dealing with making wine and growing grapes; (3) sponsoring of special events for members for introduction and exchange of professional information; (4) sharing of books and materials among members; and (5) conducting of meetings for sharing of information among members.
Focus of Collections.  In the discussion, Steve Krebs noted his need to build the Napa Valley College collection and the opportunity with a group such as ours to exchange duplicates.  Sue Visser pointed out the different purposes and strengths of the represented libraries: historical, business/marketing, up to date technical, etc.  Steve Krebs acknowledged the many related disciplines that make up a “wine library” — viticulture, enology, marketing, science, technology, soil sciences, etc.  Members should make known what our specific library interests are so that “trading” could be facilitated.  Gail Unzelman asked if we had not already started this procedure with an “information sheet questionnaire” being written up and sent to all members by Tammy Lau.  It was suggested the secretary follow up on this. 

Yahoo site: Alev Akman reported she has set up a Yahoo list serve site for the Wine Librarians.  This site, with a listing of all members’ e mail addresses, can serve as our vehicle for keeping in touch between meetings, as well as an efficient tool for members to post “queries” about difficult reference / research questions: one query will be directed to all members automatically.  Marty S. brought to our attention the Entomologist Library Information Network, a group with a parallel mission to share information. Their list serve site for queries, new book lists, etc., works well.

Web site: General agreement was that a web site is not needed at this time, although in the future it could be a valuable tool to facilitate the growth of the Wine Librarians Assn. and reach wine libraries around the world.
Maynard Amerine papers?: The whereabouts of Amerine’s papers was asked.  Are they at UC Davis?  It was suggested that Axel Borg would know.

Retrospective articles: Steve Krebs suggested the publication of a “collected works” volume of the keynote articles by such authors as Amerine, Winkler, et al, over the past 100 years.  He noted these articles are hard to come by, most of them “deeply buried in the stacks.”  Norma K.  mentioned the California Index Card Catalogue at UC Berkeley, which is a very useful index of all such reports and articles.

Pacific Wine & Spirit Review: The microfilming of this important periodical was again brought up as a desired objective of the Association.  Norma K. will check to see what holdings UC Berkeley has, and what has been microfilmed.
Membership list.  Robert Zerkowitz will work with Secretary Clayla Davis on updating the membership information.

3.  Brady Book: Bo Simons reviewed the Brady Book project for new members and reported on its progress.  In a nutshell, the unpublished wine writings of Roy Brady (1918 1998), wine amateur and collector of wine books and wine labels extraordinaire, have been assembled by Tom Pinney, and are being readied for publication by Gail Unzelman.  We have been waiting for incorporation and tax exempt status to be finalized before proceeding to the next step: publication.  Darrell Corti, friend of Brady and an important figure in the wine world, has agreed to fund the project.  At an earlier Association meeting, it was agreed by the membership to print a limited edition of 250 hand numbered copies.  Monies from sales will go back into the Association treasury for funding of the future projects.

4.  Other Business:

George Husmann exhibit: Steve Krebs announced the opening of an exhibit on the life of George Husmann, to be held Saturday, Nov.9th, at 2 p.m. at the Napa Valley Museum, Yountville.
Search engines: and were two recommended sites for finding new, used, and rare books.

5.. Next meeting:

Our next meeting will be Spring or Summer, 2003.  Steve Krebs has invited the Association to Napa Valley College.

6.  Adjournment:

We adjourned for lunch, 12:15.  During lunch, copies of Paco! The World and Work of Francis Lewis Gould and the Napa Valley Wine Library Report (Summer 2002) were distributed to all attending, compliments of the Napa Valley Wine Library.  Elliott Mackey also had available copies of Wine Appreciation Guild, New Books and Backlist, 2002, a 23 page color catalogue.  Robert Zerkowitz provided everyone a copy of the Wine Institute’s latest program (with CD), “Sustainable Winegrowing.”

Respectfully submitted,
Gail Unzelman (in the absence of Clayla Davis)


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