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Santa Rosa, CA –  The Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW) honored Sanchietti Farming with the 2020 Viticulture Award of Excellence during the organization’s annual gathering for members on Friday.  The Sanchietti family was chosen this year for its 100+ years of farming legacy, meticulous farming techniques, its support of SCW’s sustainability initiatives, and for being exceptional contributors to the Sonoma County community.

“This award is a nice reflection on our family,” said Mark Sanchietti, 4th generation farmer of the Sanchietti Ranch and Farming operation.  “It’s humbling to be honored for all of the hard work my father, Mel, has put into our farm and for the work we are still doing today.”

Each year SCW recognizes one of its grape growers, grape growing families or a viticulturalist for going above and beyond to support the local grape growing community.  The Sanchietti Ranch has been in the family for over 100 years and currently is being farmed by its 4th generation.  When Luigi and Filomina Sanchietti settled on the land after immigrating from Italy, it was planted with Zinfandel grapes which were eventually replaced with fruit and nut trees, and a robust poultry business. In the late 1960s, demand for these crops declined, and premium wine grapes became the high-value crop that could provide the financial return needed to adapt to a changing market.  Today the Sanchietti family tends 60 acres of Pinot Noir grapes on their home ranch and farms about 400 acres across the Russian River Valley.

“Congratulations to Mark, Mel, and the entire Sanchietti family for 100 years of farming,” said Karissa Kruse, President of the Sonoma County Winegrowers. “We are so grateful for all that you do for our grape growing community and Sonoma County.” 

SCW Adapts its Grower BBQ Tradition during COVID-19

Friday’s annual grower meeting was hosted by SCW via Zoom to keep the organization and its members safe from the COVID 19 virus.  Kruse addressed the state of the Wine Grape Commission and her team’s efforts to continue to market crops for the members so they can focus on farming.  Attorney Michael C. Saqui addressed members with tips and advice for managing employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wine growers also heard forecasts for upcoming wildfire season challenges from Kim Zagaris, Wildfire Policy and Technology Advisor for the Western Fire Chiefs Association, and Bob Roper, Policy Advisor for the Western Fire Chief’s Association and Co-Chair of the CA Fire Safe Council.  They advised growers on steps they can take to prepare for the wildfire season.

The group’s traditional BBQ following the business meeting was traded for a more socially-distant Drive-in Movie Night at the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa.  SCW rented the center’s newest attraction for a members-only night and treated them to a bucket of movie snacks and a showing of the classic film, Field of Dreams. Recognizing that nothing is traditional during this time, it was a great way to spend the evening seeing old friends and sharing an experience safely from their trucks and some amazing old cars brought out for the evening.

About Sonoma County Winegrowers:

The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, also known as Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW), was established in 2006 as a marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. SCW has oversight by California Department of Food and Agriculture which supports producer regions. With more than 1,800 growers, SCW’s goal is to increase awareness and recognition of the quality and diversity of Sonoma County’s grapes and wines through dynamic marketing and educational programs targeted to wine consumers around the world.

In January 2014, SCW committed to becoming the nation’s first 100% sustainable winegrowing region in 2019. As of September, 2019, 99% of the vineyard acreage in Sonoma County has completed certification by a third-party auditor making Sonoma County the most sustainable wine region in the world.  SCW’s sustainability efforts have been recognized with California’s highest environmental honor, the 2016 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA).  Learn more at www.sonomawinegrape.org

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