Fernando Gutierrez wins 13th Annual Sonoma County Pruning Championship
Fernando Gutierrez of VinePro Vineyard Management wins 13th Sonoma County Pruning Championship and $1,000. He also won the contest in 2009.
Photo by: Chris Hordyk
Ten Finalists from Five Sonoma Winegrape Regions Competed
February 27, 2012, Santa Rosa, Calif.- Fernando Gutierrez of VinePro Vineyard Management won first place honors at the 13th annual Sonoma County Pruning Championship held on Friday, Feb. 24. He expertly pruned five vines, combining speed and best quality work, and collected $1,000 for his winning efforts. He also won the countywide contest in 2009. Second place honors went to Servando Rojas of Enrique’s Vineyard Management; third place went to Jose Elias Avila of Bacchus Vineyard Management; and fourth place was Heladio Garcia of Clendenen Vineyard Management.
Approximately 100 people attended the event to cheer on the competitors at Santa Rosa Junior College Shone Farm.
In the celebrity winemaker/vineyard manager pruning contest, the team from Dry Creek Valley came in first and one from Alexander Valley placed second beating teams from Knights Valley, Russian River Valley and Sonoma Valley.
“This was another one of our great pruning contests,” says Nick Frey, president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission. “The quality and speed of the pruning was exceptional and it was a great day for competitors, spectators and sponsors.”
First and second place winners from the recent regional contests advanced to the Sonoma County Championship (listed below). This annual series of pruning contests was produced by the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission (SCWC)
The purpose of the contest was to showcase the skills of the vineyard employees and to recognize that pruning is the critical start of the 2012 vintage year.
Contestants and top two winners from the five regional contests held earlier are:
Dry Creek Valley – February 1, 2012
1st Place - Raul Gonzales, Redwood Empire Vineyard Management
2nd Place - Juan A. Lopez, Bevill Vineyard Management
Sonoma Valley – February 3, 2012
1st Place - Servando Rojas, Enrique's Vineyard Management
2nd Place - Arturo Galindo, Carneros Vineyard Management
Alexander Valley – February 7, 2012
1st Place - Heladio Garcia, Clendenen Vineyard Management
2nd Place - Isac Moreno, Clendenen Vineyard Management
Knights Valley – February 8, 2012
1st Place - Fernando Gutierrez, VinePro Vineyard Management
2nd Place - Raul Martinez, Kellogg Vineyards
Russian River Valley – February 10, 2012
1st Place - Jose Elias Avila, Bacchus Vineyard Management
2nd Place - Manuel Chavez, Vine to Wine Vineyard Management
The contest was co-sponored by the SRJC Shone Farm and the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Platinum sponsors included: American AgCredit, Chris Maloney Crop Insurance, and Central Valley Builders Supply. Gold sponsors were: Vineyard Industry Products,Tri-Valley Vineyard Management, Bevill Vineyard Management, Sunridge Nurseries, Inc. and Cameron & Cameron.
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
CONTACT: Larry Levine