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Wine Educator & Author KEVIN ZRALY To Receive 2011 James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award

From Mary Ann Dancisin and additional sources:

Kevin Zraly

Kevin Zraly, responsible for revolutionizing the way wine is taught.

Kevin Zraly, author of the “Windows on the World Complete Wine Course” and a wine educator of international renown, has been named the 2011 recipient of the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. Zraly’s Windows on the World Wine School is now in its 36th year. Zraly could almost be called “revolutionary” in the way he taught wine. He banished snob-ism, injected humor, and made everyone believe they could soon master this most complicated subject. I took the class in the late 1980’s and the force of his personality stays with me to this day.

The award is given to those whose “lifetime body of work has had a positive and long-lasting impact on the way we eat, cook, and/or think about food in America,” according to a foundation press release.

“To be recognized as this year’s James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award winner is such a tremendous honor,” Zraly says in the Beard announcement. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with, educate and befriend so many talented people over the past four decades, and even had the pleasure of enjoying a glass of wine or two with James Beard himself on several occasions. To me, this award represents the past, present and future of the wine industry, and I am accepting this honor on behalf of my colleagues and mentors who paved the way and helped get me to where I am today and also toast the next generation of sommeliers, wine writers and educators and wine enthusiasts to come.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, Zraly “gained fame in his role as wine director at Windows on the World restaurant atop the World Trade Center in New York City.” It is believed that before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Windows on the World sold more wine than any other restaurant in the country.

Zraly will be honored at this year’s James Beard Foundation Awards – the Oscars of the food world – on May 9 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.

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