9th Annual Sonoma County Pruning Championships Feb. 29th

Ten Finalists from Five Sonoma Winegrape Regions to Compete

February 14, 2008, Santa Rosa, Calif. – First and second place winners from the recent five Sonoma County American Viticulture Areas (AVA) pruning contests will advance to the Sonoma County Championship to be held Friday, February 29th at 10:00 a.m. at Santa Rosa Junior College Shone Farm and the Warren G. Dutton Jr. Agriculture Pavilion, 6225 Eastside Road, Forestville. This is a lively sports-like event with a crowd of fans cheering on their favorities. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners. The contest is open to the public at no charge with a fiesta lunch and a mariachi band. The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission (SCWC) is producing the event.

During the competition judging, there will be a celebrity winemaker / vineyard manager pruning contest. Teams will compete with the 10 pruning finalists as the judges. Merilark Padgett-Johnson, Santa Rosa Junior College viticulture instructor, will give a grapevine pruning demonstration and answer guest questions.

Wine tasting will be available with all proceeds going to the Employee Development program that provides viticulture training in Spanish for vineyard employees.

Finalists include :

Russian River Valley

1st Place Rosendo Avila Emeritus Vineyards
2nd Place Juan Avila Pinot Vineyards

Sonoma Valley

1st Place Jose Arellano Sebastiani Vineyards
2nd Place Serbendo Rojas Enrique’s Vineyard Management

Dry Creek Valley

1st Place Leonardo Gomez Valdez & Sons Vineyard Management
2nd Place Javier Gonzalez Valdez & Sons Vineyard Management

Alexander Valley

1st Place Arturo Perez Vimark Vineyards
2nd Place Salvador Gomez Asti Vineyards-Fosters Wine Estates

Knights Valley

1st Place Francisco Toledo Clendenen Vineyard Management
2nd Place Fernardo Gutierrez VINEPRO Vineyard Management

“The purpose of these contests is to convey that the critical beginning of the 2008 harvest begins with the pruning in the vineyards during this time of year,” says Nick Frey, president of SCWC. “Plus, we want to recognize the skills of vineyard employees doing this important task.”

The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission was established in 2006 as a non-profit marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. SCWC’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.

Photos available upon request.