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Bedell Cellars CEO Trent Preszler. (Credit: Bedell Cellars)

The New York Wine & Grape Foundation is honoring one of the North Fork’s most influential leaders in the wine industry.

Bedell Cellars CEO Trent Preszler is being awarded The 2018 Phyllis Feder Unity Award during the annual B.E.V. NY Conference Wednesday. The award recognizes those who create cooperation opportunities among the state’s viticulture industry.

“This is my life’s work and I am deeply invested in the success of the wine business on Long Island and nationally,” said Preszler, who has long been a proponent of policymaking and sustainable wine production. “It’s certainly an amazing honor and not something I expected. I am flattered.”

Preszler, who holds a masters degree in agricultural economics and a Ph.D. in viticulture from Cornell University, joined Bedell in 2002 and oversees the vineyard, sales, marketing and operations.

“[Bedell] is exemplary of the quality and experience you’d expect from a New York State winery,” said Sam Filler, executive director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. “Trent’s research has been raising the quality of the wine industry on the local and national level.”

In addition to his role as CEO, Preszler served as chairman of the board of WineAmerica, which advocates for public policy changes that support the nation’s wineries.

Under his leadership, the non-profit became the driving force behind the passage of the Wyden Bill, which is poised to save small wineries thousands of dollars in tax revenue. He was also vital to the formation of Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing, which set the stage for the production of the first certified sustainable wines in the state.

Bedell winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich, who also helped found Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing, called the Unity Award the highest honor given to a member of the New York wine industry. “No one is more deserving of this award,” he added.

“His leadership has been a great boon to the Long Island wine industry and his advocacy of our region has brought tangible results,” said Molly Deegan, executive vice president of Bedell Cellars.

Multiple New York State growers, vintners and industry representatives nominated Preszler for this year’s award, according to the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.

“Without Trent’s support, the sustainable wine program would not exist,” read one anonymous nomination letter provided by the  foundation. “He continues to be one of our region’s most passionate and vocal advocates.”

Preszler previously worked at The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy during the Clinton years and was a rotary scholar at the Royal Botanic Gardens in the United Kingdom.

Roman Roth of Wölffer Estate Vineyard was presented with award in 2016 for his contributions to the industry.