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Sonoma County Winegrowers Awarded Specialty Crop Block Grant by California Department of Food & Agriculture


Funds Will Be Used Help Preserve Agricultural Land & Build Sonoma County Brand

sonoma-winegrowersSANTA ROSA, Calif. (October 15, 2014) – The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, also known as Sonoma County Winegrowers, announced today that it has received a $377,282 specialty crop block grant from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.  The grant will be used to raise awareness for the “Sonoma County” brand to initiate trial, build loyalty and increase purchases of Sonoma County wines, which increases demand and prices for grapes.

“We are so fortunate to get these funds as this grant enables us to continue our successful Sonoma County branding campaign in partnership with Sonoma County Tourism and Sonoma County Vintners to build consumer demand,” said Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers.  She added, “This is great recognition from the California Department of Food and Ag for our local wine industry and their sustainable approach to business proving that it not only benefits the environment but the economic viability of our businesses and the communities in which we work.”

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program provides federal grants to state departments of agriculture to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and nursery crops.   This is the second specialty block grant awarded to Sonoma County Winegrowers from CDFA. To date, Sonoma County Winegrowers have been awarded more than $756,000 from CDFA. In 2012, it received a similar grant to support winegrape growing in Sonoma County.

This new grant for the project entitled, “Ensuring Grape Grower Viability by Driving Sales for Sonoma County Wines,” will allow the Sonoma County Winegrowers to continue to promote its 1,800 grape growers and their sustainable farming practices through local, regional, and national promotional campaigns in print, digital and social media, radio, video, and enhancements to its website.

In January, Sonoma County Winegrowers announced a commitment to become the nation’s first 100% sustainable wine region through a three-phased program to be completed within the next five years. The group of predominantly family-owned wine grape farmers is well on its way to meeting its 2019 goal and is now taking the next step to inform and educate wine consumers on the eco-friendly benefits of buying a Sonoma County wine with what is believed to be the first national advertising campaign specifically focused on sustainable winegrowing practices.

According to the most recent figures, the combined economic impact of the wine industry on the Sonoma County economy was more than $13.4 billion in 2012 which is nearly two-thirds of the county’s gross product.  The wine industry in Sonoma County, both direct and indirect, provides more than 54,000 full-time equivalent jobs paying more than $3.2 billion in wages.  The county’s wine industry contributed more than $1.4 billion in local, state and federal taxes.

About Sonoma County Winegrowers

The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, also known as Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW), is a marketing and education 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 by 2019.  For more information about SCW and its programs, visit www.sonomawinegrape.org




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