Three Decades of Winemaking Experience

Tom Payette 540-672-0387


Tom Payette (left) receives the Ut Prosim award from Dr. Joe Marcy, Head of Food Science Technology.

Ut Prosim


Virginia Tech’s Department of Food Science and Technology’s  Distinguished Alumnus in Government or Industry Award from the College  of Agriculture and Life Science Alumni Organization.  The Ut Prosim Award is given annually to an alumnus who  has excelled in their profession as well as contributed extensively to  the betterment of their industry through community service. 

Wine Grape Productivity Tray


Since 1984, the tray has been presented by the  Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association to an individual or organization  that has made major contributions to the sustainable growth and  economic viability of the American wine industry, including professional  consulting, innovation, technical research and knowledge, as well as  leadership and active support. 

Virginia Governor's Cup


Tom was  awarded the Virginia Governor's Cup (the most prestigious wine award in the Commonwealth of Virginia) in back-to-back competitions first for his red wine,  2008 Meritage Blend, and then subsequently for his 2009 Reserve Chardonnay 

Blue Ridge School Distinguished Alumni Award


Tom receives the Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award from his high school.

Winemaker of the Year


Before  establishing his Winemaking Consulting business, Tom Payette was the  Head Winemaker at Prince Michel Winery (250,000 gallon winery).  In the  role of Head Winemaker he was in charge of all winemaking production in  Virginia as well as all operations at Prince Michel's Napa Valley  Winery, LeDucq Vineyards.  It was during this tenure that Tom Payette  was named Winemaker of the Year by Vineyard and Winery Management  Magazine. 



Mount Vernon Selects New Festival Consultant

May 2019

The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union, a private, non-profit organization that owns and maintains Mount Vernon, has selected Tom Payette as their new Wine Festival Consultant.

Mount Vernon hosts the Spring and Fall Wine Festival and Sunset Tour.  Hosted for over 20 years,  all proceeds from the events benefit the ongoing preservation and restoration of Mount Vernon and its educational programs.    

Payette Awarded Distinguished Alumnus

March 22, 2019

Tom Payette, national winemaking consultant, was awarded Virginia Tech’s Department of Food Science and Technology’s Distinguished Alumnus in Government or Industry Award from the College of Agriculture and Life Science Alumni Organization on Friday, March 22, 2019. The Ut Prosim Award is given annually to an alumnus who has excelled in their profession as well as contributed extensively to the betterment of their industry through community service.

Since Tom graduated from the Department of Food Science & Technology over 30 years ago, he has become one of the most respected winemaking consultants in the United States. 

His work, although often behind the scenes, has directly contributed to the tremendous growth of the over $1.3 billion wine industry in Virginia. With an extensive client base in Virginia and the mid-Atlantic Payette also serves winery clients as far away as Texas, California, Wisconsin and New Mexico. 

Tom has worked in all aspects of wine production, from winery business planning, vineyard establishment and management, winery design and operations, as well as wine analysis, blending and sales. 

Tom Payette currently serves on the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association Board, the Eastern Wineries Exposition Board, and The Rapidan Foundation Board. He has contributed to the broader field of wine production through numerous speaking engagements on technical aspects of winemaking at industry meetings targeted to beginners as well as industry veterans. Tom has also written numerous articles on technical topics in winemaking for two national trade journals. 

Payette Named to East Coast Wine Board

January 13, 2017

Tom Payette, winemaking consultant, was recently nominated to the Board of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association (ASWA). The  ASWA is one of the oldest wine organizations located on the East Coast.  Established in 1973 as the Vinifera Wine Growers Association (VWGA), it  was an early supporter of planting world-class Vinifera wine grapes,  the production of quality commercial wines, and the building of a wine  industry along the Eastern seaboard.  

Today, the organization is dedicated to the promotion of East Coast wines, wineries and winemakers. It is the home of the largest Wine Competition in the nation focused exclusively on East Coast wines. It  hosts the annual Awards Ceremony and Reception honoring the best East  Coast wines held on Capital Hill with the Congressional Wine Caucus. The ASWA also presents educational and promotional events around the nation featuring the best wines from the East Coast.

Payette Elected to Virginia Wine Council

May 27, 2014

Tom Payette,  a winemaking consultant and winery industry veteran, was recently  elected to a three year term on the Virginia Wine Council.  Tom will  fill the only Class II position on the council, replacing outgoing  member Gordon Murchie.  The Class II member position is the only  representative on the council who is not affiliated with a specific  winery, but provides support to the broader Virginia wine industry as a  whole.

The Virginia Wine Council was formed in 2008 and is a strong coalition of  Virginia's wineries, vineyards, the Virginia Wineries Association, the  Virginia Vineyards Association, wine trails throughout the state, and  individual supporters.  The Virginia Wine Council (VWC) serves as the  Virginia wine industry's representative on legislative and regulatory  issues pertaining to winery and vineyards activity, providing value to  Virginia's booming wine industry through education and advocacy efforts. 

Minnesota Features Local Winemaker, Tom Payette

February 19, 2011

The Minnesota Grape Growers Association featured local winemaking  consultant, Tom Payette at its 7th Annual Cold Climate Grape and Wine  Conference held Feburary 17-19 in Minneapolis.  Mr. Payette chaired a  day-long workshop entitled "Starting Your Winery Successfully,  Step-by-Step."

The  Minnesota Grape Growers Association was founded in 1976 and is dedicated  to advancing the art and science of growing grapes and producing wine  in cold climates.  Membership is over 700 and represents growers,  wineries, suppliers and enthusiasts from Minnesota, the upper Midwest,  eastern US and Canada. 

Boston Features Tom Payette

May 17, 2010

The  Massachusetts Wine and Grape Growers Association featured winemaking  consultant, Tom Payette as a guest lecturer at The Boston Wine School in  May.  Mr. Payette taught a course entitled "Blending".  The course  instructed current and prospective winemakers on how to blend wine  components and maximize wines in their cellar.