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Day of tastings and seminars scheduled April 5 at Palomar Hotel

Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, CA – March 14, 2011 – A group of Sonoma County’s finest vintners and winegrowers is headed to Washington, DC April 5 for a day of wine seminars, dinners and tastings for wine trade and consumers.  The “Sonoma in the City: Washington, DC” tour is presented by Sonoma County Vintners (SCV), Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, Alexander Valley Winegrowers, Carneros Wine Alliance, Russian River Valley Winegrowers, Sonoma County Tourism Bureau and Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance. All events will take place at the Hotel Palomar, 2121 P Street, NW, Washington, DC.

Tickets are now on sale for the Sonoma in the City Grand Tasting and a separate Sonoma Wine & Cheese Pairing Seminar, with proceeds from the evening benefitting Share Our Strength in Washington, DC. Tickets are $35 for the Grand Tasting only; $55 for the Sonoma Wine & Cheese Seminar & Grand Tasting. The Wine and Cheese Seminar will take place from 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM. The Sonoma County Grand Tasting will run from 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM. To obtain more information and purchase tickets, visit http://sonoma.eventbrite.com.

“The greater Washington, DC area is a very important market for Sonoma County wines, and we are glad to be here with the people who grow and make some of America’s finest wines,” explains SCV Executive Director Honore Comfort. “We have developed a full day of events designed to educate and update top members of the wine trade and wine consumers, too.  We have more than 40 Sonoma County winemakers, winegrowers and winery owners joining us here for the day, so it will be an excellent opportunity for our guests to talk to the people who grow and make Sonoma County wine.”

Wineries participating in “Sonoma in the City: Washington, DC” include Bella Winery & Caves, Buena Vista Carneros, Captûre Wines, Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery, Dashe Cellars, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Freeman Wines, Hanna Winery, Hanzell Vineyards, J Vineyards & Winery, Kosta Browne Winery, La Follette Wines, Lancaster Estate Winery, Landmark  Vineyards, Laurel Glen Vineyard, Lynmar Estate, Mauritson Family Winery, Papapietro Perry Winery, Patz & Hall Winery, Paul Hobbs Winery, Pedroncelli Winery, Pride Mountain Vineyards, Quivira Vineyards & Winery, Ramey Wine Cellars, Sausal Vineyards & Winery, Roth Winery, Seghesio Family Vineyards, Silver Oak Cellars, and Thomas George Estates.

About Sonoma County Vintners
Sonoma County Vintners is the leading voice of Sonoma County wine, dedicated to raising awareness of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier wine regions, noted for its artisanal passion, diversity and distinctiveness, and quality. Through innovative, collaborative, and informative marketing programs, SCV increases awareness and improves the understanding and appreciation of Sonoma County wines and member wineries. Founded in 1944, SCV represents more than 170 wineries of all sizes throughout the county. For more information about Sonoma County Vintners and its member wineries, visit www.sonomawine.com.

About Sonoma County Winegrape Commission
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. For more information about SCWC and its programs, visit www.sonomawinegrape.org

About the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau
Sonoma County, located 30 miles from San Francisco, is America’s premier wine, spa and coastal destination, featuring more than 300 wineries and 50-plus miles of stunning Pacific coast. For a free visitors guide or information on hotels, wineries, events, spas, attractions, and
dining in Sonoma County, visit www.sonomacounty.com or call 800-576-6662.

About Alexander Valley Winegrowers
An hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge lies the Alexander Valley, located at the northern end of Sonoma County. The Alexander Valley is 22 miles long and varies in width from two to seven miles. There are 76,900 acres of land, of which 15,000 acres are planted to premium wine grapes. World class Cabernet Sauvignon grapes thrive from the valley floor all the way up the rolling hillsides and mountain ridges. The gravelly loam soils straddling the Russian River encourage Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot to flourish. For more information, visit:  www.alexandervalley.org

About Russian River Valley Winegrowers
Russian River Valley Winegrowers, formed in 1993 is an education and marketing association of over 300 grape growers, wineries and commercial members in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley.  The RRVW is sustaining generations of winemaking – mentoring producers and encouraging enthusiasts. Learn more at www.rrvw.org and become a fan at Facebook.com/russianrivervalleywinegrowers.

About Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance
The Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance (SVVGA) is a non-profit trade organization serving over 500 vintners, growers and associates who share a mission to promote awareness of Sonoma Valley’s grapes, wine, terroir and history as the birthplace of the California wine industry. The Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Foundation (SVVGF) is a non-profit organization that has raised over $6,000,000 for local Sonoma Valley charities through the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction. For more information on the SVVGA and SVVGF, please call 707-935-0803 or visit www.SonomaValleyWine.com.

Contact: Sara Cummings 707/522-5849
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January 14, 2011 – Santa Rosa, CA: Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) kicked off the new year by providing its membership with an overview of the organization's 2011 marketing goals and opportunities, and by attempting to address the weighty question "Wine On-Line: Where Do We Go From Here?" through a panel discussion featuring top social media experts from wine and other industries. Over 250 guests filled the event to capacity on January 13th at the Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa.

SCV executive director Honore Comfort focused her presentation on the three key ways that SCV supports the wineries of Sonoma County, which include tackling larger issues and initiatives, making marketing dollars work harder, and creating sales opportunities. She touched on examples of these from 2010, including the successful pursuit of conjunctive labeling for Sonoma County wines and outstanding new attendance benchmarks achieved during Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, SCV's largest consumer event, produced in conjunction with Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance.

During the overview of SCV marketing strategies and programming for 2011, Comfort announced several progressive new opportunities for SCV members including a new custom program in partnership with Snooth.com and a new program in partnership with Wine & Spirits magazine focused on SCV's extensive educational programs for the trade.

In the organization's effort to deliver powerful information to their membership and stretch their marketing dollars, SCV convened a panel discussion to address the question that is on the mind of many a winery owner: After Tweeting and building a Facebook Fan Page, where will a winery see results in sales and brand building utilizing social media and how should they position themselves for the future?

Moderated by "Social Media Hour" host and journalist Cathy Brooks, the panel included Philip James, founder of Snooth.Com; Dan Clifford, vice president of marketing for Victoria's Secret; and Ben Parr, co-editor of Mashable.com.

Each panelist shared his or her current strategies in dealing with new and emerging technologies and some lessons learned, both from inside and outside the wine industry. The panelists candidly shared examples of mistakes made along the way and what they had learned from them to illustrate the challenges of navigating what is new territory for everyone. The dialogue was peppered with thoughtful questions from the audience.

All of the panelists were in agreement that the medium is evolving so quickly, that everyone is learning at the same time. They encouraged wineries to do a couple of things well instead of trying to be in every outlet, and to not be afraid to make some mistakes along the way.

When asked where social media will be one year from now, Ben Parr predicted that the mobile channel will be even stronger and desktop will continue to lose ground. Dan Clifford said that no matter what has evolved, the core goal will still be the same: connect with your customers well and stay focused on the basics of relationship building. Philip James took Clifford's thoughts on step further, encouraging the audience to focus on connecting with their best customers.

About Sonoma County Vintners
Sonoma County Vintners is the leading voice of Sonoma County wine, dedicated to increasing awareness and improving the quality image of its wines to consumers, media, and trade locally and globally. With almost 65,000 vineyard acres planted among the county's 13 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), Sonoma County is considered one of the world's premier winegrowing regions, producing an unparalleled range of varietals and wine styles. SCV has promoted this diversity and quality since 1944, and currently represents more than 165 member wineries and 25 Affiliate Members. For more information on the wines and wineries of Sonoma County, visit www.sonomawine.com.

CONTACT: Sara Cummings
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it / 707.888.6150

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