SACRAMENTO, May 17, 2019 – The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) selected Napa Valley grower Andrew Hoxsey as the 2019 Grower of the Year and Clements grower Brad Goehring as the 2019 Leader the Year. Both will be honored on June 25 at the Awards of Excellence program and dinner during the CAWG Summer Conference in Sonoma.
“Andy and Brad are richly deserving of these awards and the recognition by their peers,” CAWG President John Aguirre said. “Over a period of three decades, Andy has exemplified the best in grape growing with his commitment to sustainable winegrowing, agricultural preservation, habitat restoration and conservation. Brad shows us that a principled commitment to advocacy can make a difference. For many years, as a CAWG director and more recently as a leader on water quality issues, he has engaged in difficult issues and improved policy outcomes for the benefit of all California growers.”
2019 CAWG GROWER OF THE YEAR
The Grower of the Year Award is the highest honor given by CAWG. It is bestowed to an individual, family or company that represents an outstanding example of excellence in viticulture and management. The recipient is an efficient and successful producer of quality winegrapes, recognized for innovation and leadership within the industry.
Fourth-generation grape grower Andrew Hoxsey is one of the owners of Yount Mill Vineyards and Napa Wine Company. The Pelissa family, Hoxsey’s mother’s side, has been farming in the Napa Valley since 1903, and this year marks their 115th harvest.
Winegrape growing has been an important part of Hoxsey’s life since his childhood. His early hands-on learning about the agricultural and business aspects of farming came from his grandfather, Andrew Pelissa, and the family’s longtime ranch employee and friend, Andrew DelBondio. After graduating from the University of California, Davis and spending several years as a pilot in the military, Hoxsey happily returned to his Napa Valley winegrape industry roots in the mid-1980s to manage the family vineyards alongside his grandfather.
Since taking over the business, Hoxsey dedicated himself to sustainable and organic farming practices on more than 600 vineyard acres, making him one of the largest organic growers in the county. Hoxsey is not only a respected grower of quality winegrapes, but also a supportive local wine business owner who helps nurture dozens of other producers.
In 1993, he had the insight to develop one of Napa Valley’s first custom crush facilities, the family-owned Napa Wine Company in Oakville, to process premium quality grapes. Considered one of the leading facilities of its kind, it provides the ability for start-up wineries to develop their brands, as well as established brands to grow.
Hoxsey was a member of the CAWG board of directors from 1998 to 2009 and a member and former chair of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance board of directors. He has provided a considerable amount of time and expertise to countless other organizations, such as Napa Valley Cooperative, Napa Valley Vintners Association, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Premiere Napa Valley, Oakville Winegrowers Foundation, Napa County Farm Bureau, Napa Community Bank and American Vineyard Foundation.
2019 CAWG LEADER OF THE YEAR
The Leader of the Year Award recognizes an individual whose record of exceptional leadership has benefitted California’s wine industry and is an inspiration to others. The recipient has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to issues of significant importance to winegrape growers and has achieved lasting changes to promote and protect the interests of California winegrape growers.
Fourth-generation grower Brad Goehring is the owner/operator of Clements-based Goehring Vineyards, Inc., a vineyard development and farming entity that operates in 11 Northern California counties. He has led the company since graduating from California State University, Chico some 30 years ago.
Goehring has emerged as one of the most vocal, visible and steadfast advocates for the winegrape industry and California agriculture. Knowing the importance of communication, education and building relationships, he readily speaks to various audiences about regulatory and legislative issues that will affect growers. He has testified at hearings before state and federal policy makers; met with countless legislators and staff; hosted educational tours for local, state and federal officials at his vineyard; and is frequently featured in news stories in California and national media outlets.
Among the issues Goehring has engaged in are wage and hour issues, workplace safety standards, immigration reform and labor availability, the federal Clean Water Act, endangered species and vineyard development.
Goehring has been an active supporter and advocate for several organizations and committees, including California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), Lodi District Grape Growers Association, Lodi Winegrape Commission, San Joaquin County Farm Bureau and California Farm Bureau Federation. For CAWG, Goehring’s leadership and expertise has been instrumental in the organization’s efforts to promote and protect the interests of winegrape growers.
In 2018 and 2019, Goehring worked closely with CAWG staff and other agricultural groups on California’s State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material to Waters of the State (WOTS). His leadership on the issue helped deliver critically important protections for agriculture.
Goehring’s past leadership positions for CAWG include District 3 director (2008 to 2017), treasurer and vice chair of the board of directors; chair of the Government Affairs Committee; and chair of the Political Action Committee.
The CAWG Awards of Excellence program and dinner will be held on June 25 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa. Tickets are $85 per person. To attend the awards program or the entire CAWG Summer Conference, visit www.cawg.org (calendar and events tab).