2013 Ag Award Honorees

Each year the Sonoma County Harvest Fair selects five outstanding members of the Sonoma County agricultural community to be honored for their contributions to the preservation and enhancement of farming in Sonoma County. The Ag-Recognition selection committee is comprised of past recipients and a chairman which, for 2013, is Steve Dutton, owner of Dutton Ranch and Dutton-Goldfield Winery. 

This year the Sonoma County Harvest Fair Board of Directors is proud to honor the following people for the 2013 Agricultural Recognition Awards:

This year’s Friend of Sonoma County Agriculture is being awarded to Lucia Varela, Ph.D. The award recognizes an individual who works to promote and enhance the agricultural industry through their contribution, operation and community involvement in Sonoma County. This award is given to someone who is not directly involved in agriculture, but has supported and benefitted the industry through their endeavors. Growing up on her family’s farm, Lucia Varela became involved in beekeeping and learned she had a love for insects. When she grew up, she used her love of insects to study biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles. She eventually earned her Ph.D. in entomology (study of insects) from the University of California, Berkeley. She has spent the last 22 years working for the UC Cooperative Extension as the Area-wide Integrated Pest Management Advisor for the North Coast. Her responsibilities include developing pest management programs for pome fruits and grapes.  In the last 10 years she has been helping growers and Pest Control Advisors manage exotic pests. She has responded to the detection of vine mealybug in the early 2000’s, the introductions of light brown apple moth in 2007, of European grapevine moth since 2009 and, recently, Virginia creeper leafhopper.  She provides comprehensive outreach to all affected parties and technical support to implement effective controls that are least harmful to the environment and to non-target organisms. Her research has been published in multiple agriculture industry publications since 1997.

For 39 years, Bill served as a Future Farmers of America (FFA) Advisor and agriculture teacher at Petaluma High School, providing his students with the latest in agriculture training and equipment. He also coached more state champion teams in Ag Mechanics than any other teacher in the nation. Throughout his teaching career, Bill King has helped develop true agriculturalists of Sonoma County. His collaborative efforts in the community and his passion and dedication for teaching have earned him the 2013 Lifetime Contribution to Sonoma County Agriculture, awarded annually by the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. The award recognizes an individual who works to promote and enhance the agricultural industry and the Sonoma County Harvest Fair through their lifetime contribution, support and involvement.  The Harvest Fair is indeed honored to recognize Bill King for his Lifetime Contribution to Sonoma County Agriculture.

Since 1969, and for three generations, the Sangiacomo family has consistently produced some of the top growing fruit in Sonoma County. The multi-generational family run vineyard is known for its detailed, custom viticultural practices and its dedication to growing world-class grapes. Sangiacomo Family Vineyards farms 1,600 acres of vineyards in the Carneros, Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Coast regions. The family has also developed its own Vine Ecology program focused on weather, soil, light exposure and implementation of new viticultural practices, designed to improve fruit quality and show environmental responsibility. The family also invests much of its time in experimentation to create rootstock combinations and tests everything, including close spacing, advanced trellis systems, soil amendments, deficit irrigation and cover crops to produce their exceptional fruit.

This year, The Harvest Fair is pleased to honor the Sangiacomo Family with the Lifetime Contribution to the Sonoma County Wine Industry “Methuselah” Award. Initiated in 2011, the award recognizes a person, family, or company within the wine industry with outstanding contributions to the industry and Sonoma County.

The Harvest Fair is proud to honor Tom Gore’s passion, professionalism and skill by naming him the 2013 Outstanding Young Person in Agribusiness.  Each year, the Sonoma County Harvest Fair recognizes five individuals or businesses for their dedication and support to Sonoma County’s 3 Billion dollar agriculture industry. The prestigious Outstanding Young Person in Agribusiness is given annually to a person under the age of 40 who is involved in the production or processing of an agricultural product or commodity, primarily of the harvest type, in Sonoma County. The person must have demonstrated outstanding achievement in connection with the overall operation and management of the enterprise, the methods utilized to accomplish goals in productivity, efficiency, and profitability and holds a leadership roll in community activities and/or industry activities.

As soon as he could walk, Tom, Jr. stuck close to his father’s side, walking through the vineyards, watching the farming process and riding with him to deliver grapes.  At just three years old, Tom Jr., walked through a vineyard with his aunt, accurately explaining to her that the workers were field budding the vines. By age five, Tom knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. Tom attended Santa Rosa High School, was active in FFA raising both animals and plants, and showed pigs for two years at the Sonoma County Fair. After graduating, Tom went directly to Cal Poly where he studied fruit science. Tom’s role and responsibilities have since evolved into his current position as Constellation’s Director of Vineyards for Sonoma/Mendocino Counties. He is presently responsible for the farming of 1400 acres over 12 properties in Sonoma County for Simi, Clos Du Bois, Ravenswood, and The Dreaming Tree.

For his skills, dedication and commitment to excellence, the Harvest Fair is proud to honor Tyler Klick as this year’s Outstanding Young Farmer. In the fall of 2001, after 3 years of post undergraduate studies in viticulture and enology and a total of five years of hands on experience, Tyler harvested his first vintage of Klick wine.

Tyler Klick’s wine dream began in the summer of 1996, while working on his family’s vineyard. Along with his future bride to be, Karen, Tyler developed a keen interest in viticulture and the art of winemaking. With graduation from St. Mary's college nearing, he put his career on hold and decided to extend his studies. Redirecting his educational goals, he focused his second degree at UC Davis on the particulars of growing wine grapes, wine production and understanding every detail of the wine industry. Tyler is currently the viticulturist for Redwood Empire Vineyard Management based out of Geyserville. He oversees all traditional and specialty viticulture for the vineyard management company and continuously monitors new research and trends through his participation in industry organizations, conferences and symposiums including R.A.V.E. (Recent Advancements in Viticulture and Enology) and Code of Sustainability seminars.

See 2012 Harvest Fair Honorees