2017 Ag Award Honorees

Each year the Sonoma County Harvest Fair selects 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. 

This year the Sonoma County Harvest Fair Board of Directors is proud to honor the following people for the 2017 Agricultural Recognition Awards:


Lagunitas Brewing Company - Excellence In Craft Beer Industry

Lagunitas Brewing Company

The Lagunitas Brewing Company began on a kitchen stove in Northern California in 1993. Since that humble beginning, the brand has expanded with tap rooms in Petaluma, Chicago, and beyond.

Lagunitas is proud of facilitating growth while still being able to give back to the communities that they can call home, as well as implementing green strategies in the brew process. The company also has the number one selling IPA in the country. Lagunitas always looks towards the future, whether that means supporting local communities by turning beer into money for a cause, or simply fueling stories and songs with IPA and other fine ales.

“The Lagunitas Brewing Company is currently distributed in all 50 states and is now expanding globally,” Karen Hamilton, director of communications, said. “We have launched or expanded our offerings in nearly 20 countries since 2016, and the next several years look to be just as exciting.”

One of Lagunitas’ greatest achievements is the growth over the past 24 years – there are now nearly 800 Lagunators across the country and overseas. But as in any company, with success comes challenges. Keeping up with demand is an exciting challenge to take on, and Lagunitas consistently works to make sure they can supply their markets, both domestically and abroad.

“We feel incredibly honored not only to receive this award, but also to call Sonoma County home,” Hamilton said. “We’re thankful every day that the residents of Sonoma County are happy to keep us around.”


La Tortilla Factory, Excellence in Local Food Production

La Tortilla Factory

La Tortilla Factory’s first chapter started in the 1940s, when Jose Tamayo left San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and came to the United States as part of the Bracero program. He worked on the railroad for many years and later met and married Mary. In 1977, Jose, Mary and their five sons opened Sonoma County’s very first taqueria, offering tacos, burritos and of course, fresh corn tortillas, baked daily. The popularity of La Tortilla Factory’s tortillas quickly spread across the county, and soon the family was distributing their corn and flour tortillas to grocery stores throughout the area. Today, six Tamayo family members are actively involved in the business.

“These tortillas have helped millions of people reach their health and wellness goals – something the family is very proud of,” Jenny Tamayo, marketing specialist, said.

The Tamayos are proud to have baked many industry “firsts” – including the world’s first low-carb tortilla, gluten-free tortilla, and handmade-style tortilla. The company continues their commitment to baking the best-tasting tortillas with better ingredients, up-to-date consumer taste preferences, health habits, and culinary trends.

“We’ve always chosen to be part of the solution rather than the problem, so a few years ago we began nixing out-of-date ingredients from our products and pledged to remove all GMO ingredients from our tortillas by 2018,” explains Sam Tamayo, vice chairman.

Innovation is one of the company’s core values, and is exemplified by the company’s recent efforts. This summer La Tortilla Factory relaunched their Hand Made Style tortillas, which are now non-GMO, and launched a new line of Cocina Fresca Sauce Starters. The starters were created to help busy families make great tasting, authentic meals in a matter of minutes. The company will also be adding a line of 50/50 Corn + Flour Crisps to their product profile in three flavors – Hatch Green Chile, Cinnamon and Sugar Churro, and Sea Salt.

“Our family and staff are so honored to receive this award. This year marks our 40th year doing business in Sonoma County and we could not have done it without the unwavering support of this dynamic community,” says Willie Tamayo, co-founder and vice president of the Board. “Being given this foodie award from such a well-respected, local organization like the Harvest Fair is a really big deal! We are so grateful,” he adds.

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Patrick W. Emery, Friend of Sonoma County Agriculture

Pat EmeryFrom raising a barn and establishing an educational endowment fund for kids in agriculture, to representing clients in large case commercial litigation involving issues of agricultural production and financing, Patrick W. Emery knows the true meaning of the words hard work, passion, and leadership.

As a young boy, Emery grew up on a farm in El Dorado County where he participated in 4-H and FFA. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a law degree from the University of California, Davis. Emery went on to become one of just a few practicing attorneys in Sonoma County that were inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers. He also developed one of the area’s top law firms – Abbey, Weitzenberg, Warren & Emery. Aside from offering a high level of expertise to each client, the firm is committed to contributing to Sonoma County by donating legal services, engaging on the board of several organizations and contributing to the community financially. Emery finds that the most rewarding part of his professional career is developing creative approaches to difficult cases which continue to engage his interest.

An esteemed trial lawyer in Sonoma County for the past 43 years, Emery said “Being a trial lawyer is very hard work, involving significant levels of stress. Training yourself not to be deterred by those factors is a career-long challenge.”

Emery was appointed to the Sonoma County Fair board of directors in 1989 and served until 1997. During his year as Fair Board President (1992– 1993), Emery used his leadership skills to guide the Fair through complex issues and created a legacy of community service. In addition to his commitment to the Fair, Emery held the presidency of the Sonoma County Bar Association and The Volunteer Center of Sonoma County. He also held the position of Chairman of the Sonoma County Civil Service Commission. As an honorary Fair Director, he plays an active role in the fair’s junior livestock auctions, serves as an announcer at the auctions and is an avid supporter of the county’s 4-H and FFA programs. Emery is also a current member of the Sonoma County Harvest Fair Board of Directors.

In 2011, Emery donated his legal expertise to help establish the Sonoma County Fair Foundation which at the time was led by Saralee McClelland Kunde. It was Saralee’s mission to fund an ag education center in the heart of the Fairgrounds. She passed in January of 2014 and a group of dedicated agriculture supporters continued her mission by raising over three million dollars to complete Saralee and Richard’s Barn. The Fair Foundation serves as the community’s dominant financial partner in support of promoting and enhancing the Sonoma County Fair, as well as fostering improvements at the fairgrounds. Pat Emery, as the President of the Fair Foundation, was one of the driving forces behind seeing the project through. He dedicated several years towards the design and construction of the Barn itself, as well as promoting fundraising efforts and inspiring others to do the same.

“I am very pleased to receive this award,” said Pat Emery. “I believe in the positive economic and cultural impacts of a diverse and vibrant agricultural community.”


Joe Rochioli, Lifetime Contribution to Sonoma County Wine Industry
“Methuselah Award”

Joe RochioliJoe Rochioli has many passions – baseball and animals, to name a few – but his passion of choice is grapes. Although the realization that he wanted to make wine came later in life, he has made tremendous impacts on the industry and pushed the boundaries of wine making in Sonoma County. Early on, he encouraged his father to plant varietals before anyone else in the area would, and later on worked to improve quality of life for vineyard workers.

After Rochioli got his degree in animal husbandry at Cal Poly State San Luis Obispo, he spent several years as a researcher for the United States Army. In 1959, he left the service and started working with his father on their Healdsburg family farm, growing a variety of crops, like hops. When the hops industry plummeted, the ranch increased their production of green beans and grapes. Rochioli quickly learned how to tend his own grapevines and experimented with many new practices and techniques.

An innovator at heart, Rochioli was one of the first in Sonoma County to plant varietals, the first vineyard owner to start plucking leaves in brushy varieties, and the first to start putting canes on both wires instead of using the more common wire trellising system. Rochioli simply says, “I learned by doing.”

In 1976, Rochioli began making a bit of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, while the property was still Fenton Acres. Fenton Acres became J. Rochioli Vineyards and Winery in 1982, and in 1987, the Rochiolis released their first estate wine, the 1985 Rochioli Pinot Noir. The wine went on to top the Wine Spectator’s list, and to become ‘The Best Pinot Noir in America.’ Since then, Rochioli wines have become known worldwide for exceptional flavor and quality.

In his free time, Rochioli gives back to the community. He served 16 years on the Westside Union Elementary School Board and 25 years on the Healdsburg Future Farmers Fair Board of Directors. He was one of the founding members of the Healdsburg Fair, dedicating decades to support youth in agriculture. He has also been a member of the California Farm Bureau for 51 years.

“I’m honored. Winning this is the best and biggest award outside of the Coppola Award,” Rochioli said. “This award is a life achievement and life is coming to a close.”


Audrey Sterling, Lifetime Contribution to Sonoma County Agriculture

Audrey Sterling

A native San Franciscan, Audrey Sterling, has led an exciting life in Paris and California with her husband Barry Sterling. The two met during their studies at Stanford University, and married 65 years ago. Shortly after, in 1976, the Sterlings founded Iron Horse Vineyards, and now three generations of Sterlings live on the estate.

Audrey Sterling became interested in the wine industry early on in her relationship with her husband.

“When we were dating, Barry brought a bottle of Mateus Rose to dinner. I could tell that he felt very sophisticated,” she said. “I was so impressed I took the bottle back to the dorm and put a candle in it.”

Living in France afforded the couple the opportunity to visit various wine regions where they learned more about the industry and honed in on the varietals of wines they enjoyed the most. France gave the couple the inspiration behind Iron Horse Vineyards.

“As Californians, we are acutely aware of the value of water,” Sterling said. “Job one when we bought the property was to finish installing a reservoir and replant some of the vineyards. In 1990, our son Laurence negotiated an agreement with the town of Forestville to recharge the reservoir with recycled water.”

But the Sterlings are environmentally and socially aware in more ways than one. They contribute about 3% of their total production to various charitable causes, and host an annual fundraising event called Celebrate Earth Day in Green Valley. The couple even has a partnership with National Geographic called Ocean Reserve, where $4 from each bottle goes to National Geographic’s Ocean Initiative, which helps establish marine protected areas and supports sustainable fishing.

Iron Horse Vineyards proudly supports the Green Music Center. Sterling was in on the ground floor of the development of Sonoma State’s Wine Business Institute, and she fondly remembered attending the very first Sonoma County Vintners tour when the association was still a novelty.

Sterling has been highly recognized in the community and, outside of the wine industry for roles such as her job as Fair Employment Practices Commissioner for the State of California under Governor Pat Brown, a Director of the Sonoma-Marin Fair, and one of the first directors on the board of the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.


Krishna Hendrickson, Outstanding Young Person in Agribusiness

Krishna HendricksonThe Harvest Fair is pleased to announce that Sonoma County native Krishna Hendrickson is the 2017 Outstanding Young Person in Agribusiness. Hendrickson’s many accomplishments and unique background support this well-deserved recognition.

Hendrickson’s parents were very involved with their children’s education, school functions, and sports teams – which taught him the importance of community at a young age. At age 17, he was the youngest person to complete the Russian River Valley Fire Academy, but his interest in agriculture led him on a different route. In high school, Hendrickson began taking agricultural classes and was involved in the El Molino High School FFA. Hendrickson went on to study business and viticulture at the Santa Rosa Junior College with his younger brother. Together, they spent a semester abroad in South Australia working for Penfolds Winery.

With his dual Australian-American citizenship, Hendrickson rounded out his education on two continents. Then, after a few internships and seasonal positions with local wineries, Hendrickson landed a job at Richard’s Grove & Saralee’s Vineyard, where he remained for more than a decade.

“Looking back now, I realize how young I was when I started working for Rich and Saralee. I grew up there. I worked hard and they treated me like family,” Hendrickson said. “They reinforced my early learnings about community and giving back.”

At the beginning of this year, he entered a new chapter in his career when he joined Judy Jordan’s team at Capra Vineyards. As asset manager, Hendrickson works on capital improvements, expands outreach throughout the community, and builds relationships with winery partners. He loves working for Capra because the vineyards support the nonprofit foundation that Judy created.

 “I look at the list of past recipients, and it’s surreal to think that my name will be alongside theirs, since so many of them are icons in our community,” Hendrickson said. “I accept this opportunity and take it as a sign that I need to step up my game by continuing to support our industry and the next generation of farmers.”


Jana McClelland, Outstanding Young Farmer

Jana McClellandJana McClelland discovered her love for farming early on in life. Growing up on the family dairy farm in Petaluma, she was given her first calf, Essey, at the age of five. She went on to raise bull calves to save money for her college education. After two years at Santa Rosa Junior College, McClelland transferred to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to obtain her BA in Agriculture Business. After graduating, she returned to the farm and became a partner in the business. She has been running the farm with her parents, George and Dora McClelland, ever since and is now the third generation on the farm.

The dairy farm has expanded over the years. In the early 2000s, they transitioned to organic farming, and since then have fully embraced organic and sustainable farming practices. In addition to expanding the dairy farm, they have branched into other products, including European-style organic artisan butter, free range organic chicken eggs, a seasonal pumpkin patch, farm tours to educate the public, as well as tours for other industry members both local to international. One day, McClelland would like to start a non-profit to educate people about the importance of organic, sustainable farming.

“The farm has a great team of people, and it has been rewarding to watch the team and business grow over the years,” McClelland said. “Producing products that are organic and grown or raised sustainably so that we are helping the environment and giving consumers the chance to purchase a local, organic and sustainable product is rewarding.”

McClelland has been involved with the Sonoma County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and the High School Agricultural Advisory Board, trying to share the importance of agriculture with the public.


Joe & Steve Dutton of Dutton Ranch, Sustainable Farmers Award

Dutton Brothers

In 1964, The Dutton Ranch was created by Joe & Steve’s parent, Warren & Gail Dutton. The family started farming French colombard grapes and apples at their Graton ranch, west of Sebastopol. Continuing this family legacy, 5th generation farmers, Joe and Steve are currently co-owners of the family ranch, which has gained notoriety for world class grapes and certified organic apples. For the Duttons, farming sustainably has been at the forefront of their practices for years, with a focus on preserving agriculture, taking care of their employees and maintaining a business that can be passed down to the next generation.

“Sustainability is doing the best we can for our own business, our employees and the environment, while keeping the bottom line always in mind,” says Steve Dutton. “Involving our kids and transitioning our business to the next generation is what we believe sustainability is all about.”

The two brothers both grew up on the ranch and have only really had one job – working on the family ranch. They started by helping their father with whatever work he had for them to do. Steve began working on the ranch in 1987, after his return from studying 2 years at the University of California, Davis. Joe then began working alongside his father and brother Steve after he graduated high school in Forestville, California. In honor of their farming legacy, Joe and Steve plan on continuing the family business and enhancing their success, by including the next generation of the Dutton family.

The brothers are proud to grow world class grapes and turn them into world class wine.  With a focus on unparalleled quality, they have partnerships with over 70 wineries and work with each one to grow the best grapes for their wine programs. They farm over 400 separate grape blocks with different harvest picks that deliver premium grapes that are the foundation for many wines that proudly bear the Dutton Ranch vineyard designation.

The Dutton’s also go above and beyond to take care of their employees. Currently, they house 94 employees on the ranch and have 15 houses for foremen and their families.

Joe and Steve Dutton have given so much to the community and continue to do so by remaining on multiple boards in Sonoma County.  Joe is currently the Chairman of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, President of the Goldridge Resource Conservation District Board of Directors, and sits on the SRJC Viticultural Advisory Committee with his brother. Steve is President of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau Board, along with being President of the Board of the Russian River Valley Wine Growers Foundation. He also holds seats on the Exchange Bank Board, SRJC Viticultural Advisory Committee, and the Advisory Board of Sonoma County Farm Trails.

The Dutton brothers are thankful to work every day and honored and proud to receive this award. “We like to farm,” Steve says. “It’s never the same day twice.”


Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Sustainability Leader in Wine Industry Award

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

For over forty years, the Coppola family has been committed to producing quality wine through environmentally responsible practices. The winery’s sustainability approach includes seeking innovative ways to improve efficiency, minimize impacts on the environment and foster a nurturing habitat for wildlife, staff and the public. The Sonoma County Harvest Fair is pleased to honor Francis Ford Coppola Winery with the 2017 Sustainable Producer/Maker Award.

“I’m thrilled to receive this award. Sustainability is such an important part of our business and our team has put so much dedication and hard work into accomplishing our goals,” says Corey Beck, Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s President & Director of Winemaking. “Sustainability is about being a steward of the land as well as the community, and enhancing the lives around us. It’s our commitment to preserve the land for future generations so that our children and grandchildren have the opportunity to embrace this beautiful land.”

As one of the leading California sustainable wineries, Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s green business practices are the cornerstone to its success. Estate vineyards are farmed using innovative water conservation practices such as aerial imagery, weather stations, soil monitoring probes and drip irrigation. Each drop of water used by the winemaking facility is captured, cleaned and recycled for vineyard irrigation. The winery’s farming practices have been certified through the California Sustainable Winegrowers Alliance (CSWA) since 2012 and promote biodiversity in the vineyard. CSWA along with other area sustainability partners recently bestowed the Leader Award upon Francis Ford Coppola Winery, one of only four recipients of the prestigious California Green Medal Awards.  

Their integrated pest management system utilizes alternative methods for pest control. Diversified plant species are incorporated into the soils through cover crop trials. Two bee hives on the property are host to over 10,000 pollinators. Barn owls are encouraged to live amongst the vines in owl boxes and perches to help protect the land from gophers and encourage natural mammalian pest control. These farming practices are continually benefiting the Russian River watershed fish habitat. Coppola was certified with Fish Friendly Farming through the California Land Stewardship Institute in 2007.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery knows that having the right team on board, and investing in their success, is critical to producing great wine. Their sustainability department puts forth focus on greening efforts throughout the year, always looking for ways to improve or innovate. In addition to providing training opportunities for staff, their volunteer “Green Team” meets regularly to identify new ways the company can innovate and improve their footprint.

These sustainable growing practices are the cornerstone of producing award winning wines year after year. Caring for the land has not only been a top priority for the Coppola estate, but area growers are encouraged to farm sustainably.

“Our sustainability efforts have been an anchor initiative in our business for decades. Each year we make more progress. Last year, we made the commitment to source 100% sustainability certified grapes by 2019. We offer our growers advice on innovative vineyard techniques and financial assistance in helping them achieve certification,” Beck says.

Helping to support the development of renewable energy, Francis Ford Coppola Winery has been an EPA Green Power Partner since 2015 and was certified with the Bay Area Green Business Program in 2012. The winery sources 36% of their electricity use from renewable sources like geothermal and wine power.

The wine production facility uses sustainable materials wherever possible and works with suppliers to reuse packaging and reduce waste. Renewable, natural corks are used on the bottling line because they are biodegradable, and recyclable, and therefore the winery is a big advocate for the Cork Quality Council. Wine bottles and corrugated wine boxes are made using a portion of recycled materials, when possible. Since 2012, the winery has distributed over 7,000 reusable kegs for wine on tap programs, an emerging trend in alternative packaging.


Previous Award Winners

 

Excellence in the Craft Beer Industry:

 PAST RECIPIENTS

 2015     Moonlight Brewing Company

 2014     Bear Republic Brewing Company

Excellence in Food Production:

PAST RECIPIENTS

2015     Kozlowski Farms

2014     Bloomfield Organics

Outstanding Young Farmer:

PAST RECIPIENTS

1976     Tom Crane

1989     Jim Young

2002     Mike Strunk

2015     Dan Rotlisberger

1977     Warren Dutton

1990     Craig Jacobsen

2003     John Bucher

1978     Lee Martinelli, Sr.

1991     Bill Kunde

2004     Lee Martinelli, Jr.

1979     Mel Sanchietti

1992     Bob Cannard

2005     Ned Hill

1980     Richard Dilworth

1993     Jim Murphy

2006     Tom Rued

1981     Dane Petersen

1994     Dennis Murphy

2007     Mike Sangiacomo

1982     Phil Marcuacci

1995     Steve & Dave Gatti

2008     George Martinelli

1983     Thom Mauritson

1996     Leonard Diggs

2009     Steve Sangiacomo

1984     Tom Dehlinger

1997     Keith Kunde

2010     Brett Munselle

1985     Marvin & Rita Cardoza

1998     Pat Stornetta/ Joe Leveroni

2011     Ryan Petersen

1986     Bev Wasson

1999     Steve Dutton

2012     Mark Sanchietti

1987     Norm Yenni

2000     Joe Dutton

2013      Tyler Klick

1988     John Balletto

2001     Kelly Parsons

2014      Cameron Mauritson

Outstanding Young Person in Agribusiness:

PAST RECIPIENTS

 

 

 

1980     Alex  Vyborny

1991     Doug Snyde

2003     Rex & Kerry Williams 

2014 Lise Asimont

1981     Paul Mononi

1992     Jim Pratt

2004     Armon Azevedo

2015 Marcus Benedetti

 

1982     Marc Dahlgren

1993     Peter Opatz

2005     Chris & Dawn Lindelof

 

1983     Mike Lee

1994     Joe Votek

2006     Chris Bowland

 

1984     Dave Rafanelli

1995     Katie Wetzel Murphy

2007     Dana Grande

 

1985     Steve Hill

1996     David Drucker

2008     Jeff Carlton

 

1986     Brian Gebhart

1997     Kirk Lokka

2009     Ulises Valdez

 

1987     Steve & Candy Sommer

1998     Lorri Emmerich

2010     John Azevedo

 

1988     Dan Benedetti

1999     Jeff Lyon

2011     Brent Young

 

1989     Kevin  Barr

2000        Lee Ann Cameron-Reuter

2012     Clay Mauritson

 

1990     Perry Kozlowski

2001     John Bidia

2013      Tom Gore, Jr.

 

Friend of Sonoma County Agriculture:

PAST RECIPIENTS

 

 

 

1987     Tim Tesconi

1996     Mike Runyan

2005     Capt. Cliff Stewart

2014     Carlos Chavez

1988     Bill & Patsy Stratton

1997     Dan Desmond

2006     Nick Frey

2015     Stephanie Larson

 

1989     Steve Olson

1998     Gaye LeBaron

2007     Gail Davis

 

1990     Larry Bertolini

1999     Terry Lindley

2008     Rhonda Smith

 

1991     Rich & Saralee Kunde

2000     Bob Anderson

2009     Bo Simons

 

1992     Millie Howie

2001     Glenn Klein

2010     Paul Kelly

 

1993     Richard Thomas

2002     Michele Anna Jordan

2011     Oliver’s Markets

 

1994     John & Phebe Sorensen

2003     Ken Silveira

2012     Chef John Ash

 

1995     Paul Vossen

2004     Bill Traverso

2013      Lucia Varela

 

Lifetime Contribution to Sonoma County Agriculture:

PAST RECIPIENTS

 

 

 

1984     Mike Rossi

1994     Newton Petersen

2004     Ron & Ruth Waltenspeil

2014 Al Cadd

1985     Elmer Brown

1995     Darrel Hurst

2005     Cecilia Mello

2015 Bob & Shirley Dempel

1986     Sam Nisson

1996     Louis J. Foppiano

2006     Jim King

 

1987     J. Wesley Jamison

1997     Carmen Kozlowski

2007     Mitch Mulas

 

1988     Paul Mancini

1998     Joe Vercelli

2008     Lee Walker, Sr.

 

1989     Louis Ricci

1999     Dr. Fred Groverman

2009     Joe Rochioli, Sr.

 

1990     Gene Benedetti

2000     Louis Giacometti

2010     Rich Kunde

 

1991     Gus Sanchietti

2001     George Menini

2011     Dominic Carinalli

 

1992     Robert Young

2002     Warren & Gail Dutton

2012     Art Ibleto

 

1993     Joe DiGrazia

2003     Angelo Sangiacomo

2013      Bill King

 

Lifetime Contribution to the Sonoma County Wine Industry "Methuselah Award"

PAST RECIPIENTS

2011     Jess Jackson

2011     Joe Martin

2012     Louis M. Foppiano – Foppiano Vineyards

2013      Sangiacomo Family

2014     David Stare

2015     Trione Family