The American Vineyard Foundation Launches the Justin Meyer Graduate Student Fellowship Supporting Viticulture and Enology Research 

Napa, CA. July 6,2022 – The American Vineyard Foundation (AVF) is pleased to announce the establishment of a fellowship to support viticulture and enology graduate student research in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis.  TheJustin Meyer Graduate Student Research Fellowship honors the late, legendary winemaker Justin Meyer, AVF founder and long-time president.  Meyer was also a graduate of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis.

Meyer’s vision for a partnership between the wine industry and academia led to the creation of AVF and the advancement of funding for grape and wine research.  Since 1979, Meyer and his fellow vintners and grape growers worked tirelessly to raise over $35 million dollars in research funding to solve the wine industry’s most critical challenges.

“My dad was an amazing man, and my family and I are deeply honored that the AVF has chosen to award this Fellowship in his memory.  He treasured the fact that AVF fostered collaboration from the largest wineries to the smallest growers to tackle industry challenges.  More importantly, he often reflected that because he came from humble beginnings, earning a college scholarship was the boost he needed to prepare him for life and his career success.   He was always looking for ways to help others like him to achieve their goals” said Matthew Meyer, AVF board member and son of Justin Meyer.

The graduate student fellowship is a natural extension of AVF’s core mission of research support for the grape and wine industries.  The fellowship will provide $50,000 annually for three years to fund a PhD candidate at UC Davis.  

The goal of the fellowship is to attract qualified graduate students to grape and wine research while encouraging diversity in the wine industry.  “We are proud to be able to leverage our endowment fund to support deserving graduate researchers as they begin their careers in our rewarding industry,” said Tony Stephen, AVF Chairman.  “The AVF is committed to the continued support and advancement of grape and wine research.”

Another goal is to commit funding for graduate student research over multiple years rather than on a year-to-year basis.  By doing so, the AVF wishes to enhance research continuity and meaningful deliverables to the industry.   The AVF plans to rotate the award every three years to a new student and research objective.  

“The AVF endowment empowers us to help fund critical research and scholarships for those graduate students who endeavor to contribute their talents to enology and viticulture research,” said Jerry Lohr, AVF board member. “We’re looking for more individuals to play a part in the future of the organization. Giving to the endowment supports our ongoing mission of advancing grape and wine research.”

About the American Vineyard Foundation

The American Vineyard Foundation (AVF) was founded in 1978 by the American Society of Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) to raise funds for research in viticulture and enology. Basic and applied research has made the American grape and wine industry the world’s leader. The AVF provides a unique opportunity to advance the wine industry through research efforts to maintain this progress. For more information visit 

Your contributions have funded over $35 million dollars in critical research for our industry since the American Vineyard Foundation was established in 1979.