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September 23, 2019, Santa Barbara, CA — The Santa Barbara County Vintners Association (Santa Barbara Vintners) is thrilled to announce it is the recipient of a U.S.-mandated grant to fund new marketing initiatives in the Los Angeles area, in an effort to increase awareness and sales of wine made in Santa Barbara County.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced funding for the 2019 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP), providing grants to state departments of agriculture with the goal of funding projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. The state of California received $22.9 million out of $72.4 million awarded nationwide. Through a competitive selection process, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded grants ranging from $50,000 to $450,000 to various nonprofit and for-profit organizations, government entities, and colleges and universities throughout California.

The Santa Barbara Vintners was one of those entities recognized by the CDFA, in which a grant in the amount of $380,780 was awarded to the association to expand its marketing efforts in the Los Angeles area. By leveraging the “California Grown” identity, the Santa Barbara Vintners’ strategic marketing programs will “help broaden the exposure of and ultimately increase the sales of Santa Barbara County wines,” says Alison Laslett, CEO of the Santa Barbara Vintners.

“We are honored to have received such a generous amount to the Santa Barbara Vintners to help implement targeted marketing initiatives in the Los Angeles area,” says Laslett. “$380,780 almost doubles our association budget and allows for a bigger marketing budget than we’ve ever had. To have this kind of funding dedicated exclusively to promotion is exactly what the wine industry has been requesting.”

“Santa Barbara County — a wine region that is largely composed of small, family-owned businesses — has been impacted by the recent trend away from California-produced wine, so our goal is to swing the momentum back towards our region,” says Stephen Janes, President of the Board of the Santa Barbara Vintners. “I am thrilled with the opportunity to remind Southern Californians that we are their local wine country and tell them about how amazing our wines, landscapes and food all are.”

Today, Santa Barbara County comprises over 200 wineries and over 16,000 acres of grapes planted with a very diverse 65+ varieties. Most of the plantings are dedicated to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah; yet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chenin Blanc all have a foothold, and Rhône, Italian and Spanish varieties are making headway. Adds Laslett, “This is an exciting time for the Santa Barbara Vintners as we continue to build a powerful organization that can give the vintners what they want and deserve. We see this grant as a positive step in the right direction, to reinforce the quality, diversity and appeal of Santa Barbara County wines.”

About the Santa Barbara County Vintners Association:

The Santa Barbara Vintners is a non-profit 501 (c) 6 organization founded in 1983 to support and promote Santa Barbara County as a world-class, authentic wine producing and wine grape growing region. The Association includes winery members whose annual production is at least 75% Santa Barbara County (or sub-AVA) labeled, winery associates, vineyards, and business associate members. Their mission is to promote and protect Santa Barbara County’s wine industry. It produces festivals and wine country weekends; educational seminars and tastings; provides information to consumers, trade and media; and advocates for the Santa Barbara County wine and grape industry. Visit www.sbcountywines.com for more information.

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