After 20 years with the Lake County Winegrape Commission, President Shannon Gunier is leaving to pursue other interests. Gunier is retiring from the Commission post, she announced, stating, “This is a good time to step down.”
Since 1991 the Winegrape Commission’s objective has been to market the premium Lake County winegrape growing region to new and existing grape buyers and wineries all over the United States.
“Lake County is at an all time high in (winegrape) tonnage harvested, and our prices have never been higher,” said Gunier. “We have excellent directors on the Commission board who oversee the various efforts. They are hard working, knowledgeable individuals who will continue to develop programs and offer assistance to our grower members.”
The Commission will begin its search for a candidate to fill the position being vacated by Gunier. Once a new president is hired, Gunier will help train the individual and continue to offer her services as a consultant. “This is an opportunity to keep the Commission leadership fresh and moving forward,” the group’s president added.
Gunier is proud of her accomplishments over the past 20 years but believes the Commission will continue to see positive development. While she and her husband Rick managed all of the Commission’s activities through their consulting firm, Gunier helped direct the growth of Lake County’s winegrape industry from its 3,000 acres of vineyards in 1991 to nearly 9,000 acres in 2012. Winegrapes became the county’s largest agricultural crop by 2011 when sales of the product had reached approximately $33 million, with the third highest prices in the state, behind only Napa and Sonoma.
Lake County’s winegrape growers supported continuance of the Commission over the past 20 years with an overwhelming 94 percent of the growers, Gunier noted. “The number of growers has increased to almost 160, and the majority believe the Commission is doing a great job. The vote for continuance is taken every 5 years, and it has been strongly in the Commission’s favor each time, indicating success of the Commission’s sales and marketing endeavors,” she said.
The Commission offers a variety of assistance to winegrape growers in the county. Activities include marketing, educational and research programs that benefit growers’ development of vineyards, Gunier noted.
For more information about the Lake County Winegrape Commission, visit the website, www.lakecountywinegrape.org, or call the Commission office at 707-995-3421.