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An Expert Display of Speed and Technique at the 19th Annual Napa County Pruning Contest

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NAPA, CA (February 10, 2020) – The Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) and Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation held the 19th Annual Napa County Pruning Contest at Beringer’s Gamble Ranch Vineyard on Saturday, February 8.  The sun was shining over the annual event, as 160 contestants tested their expert speed and technique in what is considered the most prestigious competition for Napa Valley’s vineyard professionals.

“We just celebrated the 19th Napa County Pruning Contest showcasing the skilled workers we have in our valley tending to our vines.  Every year the contest gets bigger and the contestants get even better,” noted Kendall Smith of White Rock Vineyards and co-chair of the Napa County Pruning Contest.  “I love seeing the pride our community has in the work that they do, especially at the pruning contest where pruning is such an art.  What makes the event so great is that our vineyard workers get recognized at such a fun contest, and on such a beautiful, sunny day this year!”

Each of the contestants pruned five vines in the day’s preliminary competition.  Those with the highest scores went on to the final round, which produced the winners: 4 in the women’s division and 4 in the men’s.   The winners took home cash, pruning tools, clothing, gift cards and other prizes.  An ongoing crowd favorite award was a handmade silver belt buckle given to the 1st place winners.  Employers typically match the cash prize winnings, so the day was highly rewarding for the top 8 finalists.  All contestants took home 19th Annual Pruning Contest hoodies provided by FELCO and enjoyed a catered lunch between competition rounds.

The Saturday event attracted families, friends, and colleagues to attend and cheer on their favorite contestants.  Additionally, Napa Wildlife Rescue’s Ophelia the Opossum made an appearance, Central Valley Builders handed out t-shirts, and Puertas Abiertas hosted a community resources table.

Renteria Vineyard Management, photo by Suzanne Becker Bronk

All contestants were Napa County residents and full-time employees. All who participated volunteered their time to compete and most were paid by their employers for the day.  Many had successfully competed in internal competitions within their own companies prior to arriving to the countywide contest.

Women’s Division Winners:

1st Place: Carina de la Cruz, Renteria Vineyard Management- $900 in cash and gifts cards plus a custom trophy belt buckle; Central Valley gift basket and apparel

2nd Place: Idilberta Merino, Walsh Vineyards Management – $625 in cash and gifts cards plus gift bag and apparel

3rd Place: Cecilia Avina, Independent – $350 in cash and gifts cards plus gift bag and apparel

4th Place: Fabiola Rojas, #1 Vineyard Management – $200 in cash and gifts cards plus gift bag and apparel

Joseph Phelps, photos by Suzanne Becker Bronk

Men’s Division Winners:

1st Place: Manuel Telles, Joseph Phelps – $900 in cash and gifts cards plus a custom trophy belt buckle; Central Valley gift basket and apparel

2nd Place: Isaac Gutierrez, Beckstoffer Vineyards – $625 in cash and gifts cards plus gift bag and apparel

3rd Place: Rene Alejo, FARM Napa Valley – $350 in cash and gifts cards plus gift bag and apparel

4th Place: Narcizo Maciel-Flores, Beckstoffer Vineyards – $200 in cash and gifts cards plus gift bag and apparel

Support for this event was provided by sponsors A&J Vineyard Supply, Ag Health Benefits, Behrens Family Winery, Brotemarkle, Davis & Co., Central Valley, CONSTANT Diamond Mountain Vineyards, Copper Cane Wines & Provisions, Duarte Nursery, Emerson Day Vineyards, Farella Braun + Martel, FELCO, Gonzalez Vineyard Management, Green Valley Tractor, Hudson Vineyards, Ilsley Vineyard Management, Jaguar FLC, John Derr Farming, Komes + Garvey Ranches, Michael Wolf Vineyard Services, Moulds Family Vineyard, Naysayer Coffee, Nemerever Vineyards, Novavine, Renteria Vineyard Management, RUDD Estate, Silicon Valley Bank, Sunbelt Rentals, Taddei Vineyards, Treasury Wine Estates, Vineyard Industry Products, Walsh Vineyards Management, and Wyatt Irrigation Company.

About the Napa Valley Grapegrowers

The Napa Valley Grapegrowers is a non-profit trade organization that has played a vital role in strengthening Napa Valley’s reputation as a world-class viticultural region for 44 years.  Its mission is to preserve and promote Napa Valley’s world-class vineyards. NVG represents 726 Napa County grapegrowers and associated businesses.

For more information, visit our website Napa Valley Grapegrowers

Follow Napa Valley Grapegrowers on Facebook and Instagram

About the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation

Founded by the Napa Valley Grapegrowers in 2011, the mission of the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation is to support and promote Napa Valley’s vineyard workers through education and professional development. The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation is the only one of its kind in the United States, providing educational opportunities, advanced training programs, leadership and management classes, English literacy programs, and much more. To date, the Farmworker Foundation has offered education and professional development opportunities to more than 21,000 vineyard workers and their families.

For more information, visit our website at  Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation

Follow the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation on Facebook and Instagram

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