Sara Spayd, professor emerita of North Carolina State University, Raleigh, has been selected to receive the American Society for Enology and Viticulture’s Merit Award for 2019. The award is ASEV’s highest honor and acknowledges excellence in the fields of education, technology, management, public relations or any discipline related to enology and viticulture.

Sara Spayd

Sara Spayd

Spayd was an extension viticulture specialist at the department of horticultural sciences at North Carolina State University, Raleigh. Prior to that, she was an extension food scientist/food scientist at the department of food science and human nutrition at Washington State University’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, Washington.

“Dr. Sara Spayd embodies what ASEV was designed to do: develop research, create a network, share the knowledge and mentor new leaders,” said Jim Harbertson, ASEV technical program director and past president, Washington State University, Tri-Cities, in a news release.

“She’s an exemplary colleague who’s produced decades of brilliant research, was actively involved in multiple projects and could be depended on to get you results. But the one thing that stands out about Sara is her ability to bring along students into the industry. With her warm infectious charm, she introduces and guides them into careers and networks they would have never thought to investigate. She introduced me to ASEV and is why I am part of the Society.”

Spayd has been a member of ASEV since 1980 and served as the 2011-12 president. Other previous membership and committee services include the American Society for Horticultural Science, Institute of Food Technologists, Central Washington Wine Technical Group and Washington State Grape Society.

She received three Best Viticulture Papers Awards (1994, 2002 and 2009) and her research and extension work has generated more than 50 international and national speaking engagements that resulted in international vineyard consultations and several awards, including the Krezdorn Award and National Food Processors Award.

Spayd graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1977 with a master’s degree and in 1980 earned a doctorate, both in food science and under the mentorship of Justin Morris. She was the first student to receive a doctorate from the newly named food science department.

Spayd will present the Merit Award Presentation, “Grape and Wine Industry, Research, Extension and Education: It Takes Villages,” at the 70th ASEV National Conference on June 20 in Napa, California. For information about the conference, taking place June 17-20, visit

—by Jonelle Mejica