From left, Brittany Pederson of Renteria Vineyard Management, Sonya DeLuca, interim executive director of the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation and Napa Valley Grapegrowers, and Arnulfo Solorio of Silverado Farming Company and Vice President of the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation. Photo by Suzanne Becker Bronk
Napa, CA (September 22, 2023) – The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) is pleased to share the impact of their work funded by the CDFA California Underserved Small Producers (CUSP) Grant. The grant program provided funds for direct assistance for individual small and mid-scale and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers who needed support applying for economic relief and assistance with business planning and marketing strategies. This grant award highlights FWF’s growing impact within the Napa Valley farming community.
Utilizing these funds, FWF acted at a time of need, in the wake of economic hardship following the COVID-19 pandemic and the wildfires of 2020. The Foundation partnered with the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) to increase reach to grape growers in the area. Together, they organized educational sessions on financial relief opportunities for producers and engaged grant writing partner, Morrison and Co., to provide timely technical assistance to help impacted farming operations access critical relief programs.
Forty-three winegrape producers benefited from this one-on-one direct assistance and received nearly $415,000 in state and federal economic relief funds from the following programs: the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, the USDA Farm Service Agency’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2, and the USDA Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Relief Program (ERP)– Phase 1 supporting growers who faced losses due to wildfire. An additional 19 winegrape producers met with Morrison and were given 1:1 guidance for Phase 2 of the ERP program.
“The Napa Valley wine industry was greatly impacted by the pandemic and 2020 wildfires, the events were like a one-two punch to the local farm-working community,” said Sonya DeLuca, interim executive director for the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, “We became deeply committed to connecting small and underserved producers with financial support opportunities and were honored to be selected by the CDFA for this grant.”
Among the growers granted funding for economic relief were Spanish-speaking, small winegrape producers who had experienced severe financial losses in 2020 due to a combination of wildfire-related damage and COVID-19 market disruptions. They were able to speak with one of Morrison’s bilingual staff about their inability to navigate the funding opportunities available and struggled with limited time, linguistic barriers, and unfamiliarity with the highly technical application process. With Morrison’s assistance and the support of FWF, these growers received much needed relief funding that saved their businesses. Without FWF’s strong reputation among Napa producers, and Morrison’s tenacious approach in working through challenges as they arose, many growers would not have known that they were eligible for these programs, let alone been able to successfully access this vital financial aid.
Press Release, Napa Valley Community Foundation
The Robert Alexander Scott Scholarship Fund at Napa Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) today announced inaugural awards totaling $50,000 to support six promising students pursuing careers in winemaking, vineyard management, and enology this Fall.
The scholarship fund was established in memory of Robert Alexander (Alex) Scott. Alex was a passionate family man and a key contributor to the growth of Scott Laboratories, a leading provider to the North American wine industry. Alex's memory and legacy are now perpetuated by helping individuals gain the education and skills necessary for advancing beyond entry-level positions in viticulture and enology.
In its first year, the scholarship fund has enabled six recipients to enroll in Winemaking, Viticulture, and Enology A.S. degree programs at Napa Valley College, Santa Rosa Junior College, and Walla Walla Community College.
One of the recipients, Clair Stover, studying Enology at Santa Rosa Junior College, expressed gratitude and anticipation for her studies: “I truly love the delicate balance between science, art, and agriculture that winemaking embodies—the physical and mental challenges as well as the opportunity for creativity.”
After many years working in the wine industry, Ms. Stover realized that her on-the-job learning could only take her so far in her career. “Completing an enology degree will qualify me for higher positions in the field,” she added.
Another recipient, Juana B. Cruz, who first joined the wine industry in 2019, is excited to continue growing in her career. “There are not a lot of women in viticulture, and I have looked up to four wonderful women that I’ve had the pleasure of learning from in my current role.”
While she attends classes at the SRJC, Juana is actively planning for the future. “I have a five-year plan—I hope to be a vineyard manager with my Associate’s Degree in viticulture. I hope I can take part in inspiring the younger generation of women to join viticulture in the future, too.”
Bruce Scott, the founder of Scott Laboratories, fondly remembers his son's commitment to fostering career growth. “Alex always believed in nurturing talent and providing opportunities for growth. These scholarships not only honor his memory, but they embody his belief in empowering the next generation of viticulturists and winemakers."
Napa Valley Community Foundation, a powerful engine for good in Napa Valley, partners with local donors to establish scholarship funds supporting students across diverse educational fields, including viticulture, nursing, computer science, education, and technical and trade schools. Annually, NVCF's scholarship funds provide over $500,000 in financial support to more than 60 students.
Napa Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) has established the Robert Alexander Scott Scholarship Fund, which will make its first scholarship awards this year and memorializes Robert Alexander Scott (Alex). The scholarship is made possible by contributions of the family of Mr. Scott and those of his colleagues at Scott Laboratories. The Petaluma-based Scott Laboratories is a major supplier of goods and services to the North American wine industry.
The scholarship awards will support entry-level or non-supervisory vineyard and winery workers seeking to advance their careers, regardless of county residency. Scholarships support study toward a certificate or an associate degree in viticulture or enology at one of the following colleges: Napa Valley College, Santa Rosa Junior College, Allan Hancock College, Cuesta College, Walla Walla Community College or Umpqua Community College. Children and spouses/partners of eligible employees may also apply.
“Alex worked at Scott Laboratories from 2005 until his death in 2021. During his career, Alex developed a concern that the industry should commit itself to the welfare of those who work in it. In particular, he wanted to help people to help themselves move up the ladder,” noted his father, Bruce Scott.
Obtaining some formal education is key to advancing your career, explained Gustavo Avina, “Receiving my viticulture certification from Napa Valley College was an important step in my career. When I began, I was a regular vineyard worker and now I am the Viticulture Director for Pine Ridge Vineyards. Education is very important if you want a better position at work.”
Ellen Drayton, who oversees scholarships at Napa Valley Community Foundation, added, “We are very excited about the opportunities that the Robert Alexander Scott scholarship affords our hardworking wine industry employees. Our scholarship portfolio, which is the largest in the Valley, is growing each year to include more vocational training opportunities to boost our local workforce.”
The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation is assisting NVCF with its efforts to get the scholarship in front of as many eligible workers as possible. The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation was founded on the principle that education is fundamental to success: it is limitless; provides a high return on investment; and once attained, can never be taken away. The Robert Alexander Scott Scholarship puts opportunity within reach for farmworkers and their families.” said Sonya DeLuca, Farmworker Foundation Interim Executive Director.
The deadline to apply for the Robert Alexander Scott Scholarship is March 6, 2023, apply at https://bit.ly/ScottScholarship.
Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation’s 21st annual Napa County Pruning Contest first place finishers, Alejandra Mendoza of Trefethen Family Vineyards (left) and Rene Alejo of FARM Napa Valley (right). Photo by Suzanne Becker Bronk
The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) celebrated its 21st Annual Napa County Pruning Contest at Beringer’s Gamble Ranch Vineyard on Saturday, February 4. It was a perfect day as 106 contestants displayed speed and technique in what is considered the most prestigious competition for Napa Valley’s vineyard professionals.
“The Napa County Pruning Contest continues to get better every year. Participants are passionate about improving their skills and competing against their peers,” said Rolando Sanchez, General Manager for Walsh Vineyards Management, and member of the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation Education Committee, “The Pruning Contest is an opportunity to demonstrate their dedication to high-quality, Napa Valley grape growing.”
The FWF’s Napa County Pruning Contest is a community event with activities and giveaways for competitors and their families. At this year’s event, FWF handed out warm beanies and long-sleeved shirts, Bombas contributed socks of all sizes, and Copperfield’s Books donated children’s books.
During the main event, 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 division. The winners took home a generous bucket of gifts, which included cash, pruning tools, clothing, Napa Valley wine, gift cards and other prizes; a handmade silver belt buckle from Max Lang Belt and Buckles and first-ever champions jacket from FELCO was 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 enjoyed lunch catered by Tacos El Muchacho Alegre between competition rounds.
Past Napa County Pruning Contest champions judged the competition this year, which was an opportunity to inspire competitors. “As a past winner, now judging, I’m proud and happy to be helping and hope to encourage competitors to win,” said Celia Perez of V. Sattui Winery and the first women’s division champion in 2014, “People think that the Pruning Contest is only for men, but I am here to prove it’s for everyone, and that anyone can win.”
Competitors are Napa County farmworkers and full-time employees. All farmworkers who work in Napa County are eligible to compete.
1st Place: $1,675 in cash and gifts cards plus a custom trophy belt buckle; FELCO champions jacket and vineyard loppers; Central Valley tools and supplies; Napa Valley wine
2nd Place: $1,075 in cash and gifts cards; FELCO vineyard loppers; Central Valley tools and supplies; Napa Valley wine
3rd Place: $800 in cash and gifts cards; FELCO vineyard loppers; Central Valley tools and supplies; Napa Valley wine
4th Place: $550 in cash and gifts cards; FELCO Swiss Knife; Central Valley tools and supplies; Napa Valley wine
Women’s Division Winners:
1st Place: Alejandra Mendoza, Trefethen Family Vineyards
2nd Place: Reyna Hernandez, Walsh Vineyard Management
3rd Place: Ana Mejia, Trefethen Family Vineyards
4th Place: Irene Escoto, Trefethen Family Vineyards
Men’s Division Winners:
1st Place: Rene Alejo, FARM Napa Valley
2nd Place: Jesús Alejandro Contreras, Pearls Farm Labor
3rd Place: Lorenzo Hernandez, Walsh Vineyard Management
4th Place: Sergio Melgoza, Rocca Family Wines
Support for this event was provided by sponsors Nemerever Vineyards, Pulido~Walker, Silicon Valley Bank, Martinez Orchards, Central Valley Ag Supplies, FELCO, Duarte Trees & Vines, Sunbelt Rentals, Ag Health Benefits Alliance, Copper Cane Wines & Provisions, Jaguar Farm Labor Contracting, Crocker & Starr, Brotemarkle Davis & Co, H&E Equipment Services, Malloy Imrie & Vasconi Insurance Services, Novavine, Pearls Farm Labor, Renteria Vineyard Management, Silver Oak, John Derr Farming, Grow West, Sunridge Nurseries, Taddei Vineyards, Gonzalez Vineyard Management, V. Sattui Winery, A&J Vineyard Supply, Larkmead Vineyards, Green Valley Tractor, and our partner in health, OLE Health.
Thank you to the Napa Valley community members who served on the Napa County Pruning Contest Committee: Macy Stubstad, Co-Chair, Lawrence Wine Estates; Kendall Smith, Co-Chair, Grace Family Vineyards; Garrett Buckland, Premiere Viticultural Services; Brianna Beighle, Bryant Wines; Pam Bond, Allied Grape Growers; Chad Clark, Allied Grape Growers; Gustavo Avina, Pine Ridge; Blake Wood, Beckstoffer Vineyards; and Hayden Schmidter, Moulds Family Vineyard.
In partnership with the Wells Fargo Foundation, the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation is offering Copperfield's Books gift cards to children of farmworkers. Copperfield's is a great local business filled with holiday treasures for children of all ages.
The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation is honored to announce an exciting partnership with the Wells Fargo Foundation and would like to thank them for their generous financial commitment to two important 2022 programs.
We are grateful for this opportunity and for Wells Fargo’s historic support of our organization and the Napa Valley farmworker community.
The Napa County Pruning Contest is almost of drinking age, having just celebrated its 20th year on Saturday at Beringer Vineyards’ Gamble Ranch.
Put on each year by the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation and Napa Valley Grapegrowers, the pruning contest is a way for the organizations to recognize the valley’s talented vineyard crews.
This year’s winners came from Renteria Vineyard Management and Joseph Phelps Vineyards, with Erika López taking the women’s title and Casimiro Zaragoza for the men, respectively.
Those who came in second, third, and fourth also were awarded, with Atlas Vineyard Management’s Agustín Arias, St. Supery’s Hector Rodríguez, and Walsh Vineyards Management’s Lorenzo Hernández Aquino winning in the men’s category. Verónica Medina Reyes from Bayview — who won first place in the 2019 competition, Ana Mejia from Trefethen, and Rosa Martínez from Bettinelli Vineyards were honored in the women’s contest.
Don't have a coat to donate? Make an online donation to support the purchase of a winter coat.
The Patrick Foley Fields of Opportunity Summer Mentor Program was created by the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) and the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) to prepare Napa County high school students for careers in our world class wine industry. During the 8-week program, students gain first-class industry experience and develop professional skills in hospitality, wine production, grape growing, human resources, and accounting, with some of the world’s most forward-thinking wine producers.
Through the FWF and NVG’s ongoing partnership with the Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD), the program is promoted to high school students from a range of backgrounds. To apply, students must be 16 years or older, able to commit to an 8-week program, have interest in learning about a career in the wine industry, and a positive attitude and willingness to learn new skills. All applicants are put through an interview process, with priority extending to students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. When selected, students are placed with an employer mentor, and receive a soft skill workshop schedule covering topics, such as: financial literacy; mental health; resume writing; professional networking on social media; history of the Napa Valley; leadership stories and lessons; and goal setting.
Montserrat Granados, a student from the 2021 graduating class, said about her Fields of Opportunity experience, "I liked working outside, especially in the mornings. We did things like collect sugar samples or scouted for pests. Before this summer, I wasn't thinking about a job in this field, but now after working at Hall Wines under viticulturist Sarah Lansing, I am considering working in the wine industry.” For Montserrat, the program left a lasting impression.
The large number of qualified applicants is a positive challenge; creating opportunity for more employer mentors to get involved. In 2021, for example, FWF and NVG initially planned to place 16 students with employer mentors. When 80 student applications were received, additional outreach was made to employers; in the end, 23 students were placed, all of whom completed the program.
In 2022, the organizations hope to double student placements with support from new employer mentors who want to impact a young life by introducing them to the wine industry and sharing their passion for the field.
Past employers included many of Napa’s most recognized wineries and vineyard management companies such as: Foley Family Wines; Hall Wines; Hudson Ranch, Jericho Canyon Vineyards; Larkmead Vineyards; Napa Wine Company; Opus One; Pine Ridge Vineyards; Renteria Vineyard Management; Tres Sabores; V. Sattui Winery; Viader Vineyards & Winery; Walsh Vineyards Management; and Yount Mill Vineyards.
“Over the past 4 years, Napa Wine Company and Yount Mill Vineyards have thoroughly enjoyed supporting the Fields of Opportunity program through mentorship. We feel it is crucial to support the next generation because they represent the future of our local community,” said Kendall Hoxsey-Onysko, business manager for Napa Wine Company and Yount Mill Vineyards. “It goes both ways, though, through mentorship we learn how to continually hone our management skills, which reinvigorates our love for the business itself.”
The Patrick Foley Fields of Opportunity Summer Mentor Program has begun outreach to employer mentors for the 2022 program, which will be held June 20 - August 12. If you are interested in joining as an employer mentor, learn more here or email Jill Durfee, Farmworker Foundation Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For press inquiries related to the Patrick Foley Fields of Opportunity Summer Mentor Program, please email Caroline Keller, NVG Marketing Manager, at email@example.com.
The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation is pleased to announce they are now on WhatsApp, our first Spanish-only communication channel. WhatsApp is a free messaging app used by over 2 billion people in more than 180 countries.
We encourage you to join today and share the link with others to receive these benefits:
Here is how to connect with us:
Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation se complace en anunciar que ya están en WhatsApp, nuestro primer canal de comunicación sólo en español. WhatsApp es una app de mensajería gratuita utilizada por más de 2.000 millones de personas en más de 180 países.
Te invitamos a unirte hoy y a compartir el enlace con otros para recibir estos beneficios:
Conecta de la siguiente manera con nosotros: