The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE PROGRAM is meant to spotlight exceptional people who have benefited the broader community of winegrape growers through exemplary leadership and outstanding commitment to the well-being of the winegrowing industry, California communities and the environment.
CAWG Announces 2018 Grower and Leader of the Year
CAWG 2018 Grower of the Year: Steve Schafer, Shaffer Ranch, Inc.
CAWG 2018 Leader of the Year: Karissa Kruse, Sonoma County Winegrowers
The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) has selected Steve Schafer as the 2018 Grower of the Year and Karissa Kruse as the 2018 Leader the Year. The awards will be presented at the 2018 CAWG Awards of Excellence Program on July 17 in Napa.
The Grower of the Year award is the highest honor given by CAWG. It is bestowed to an individual, family or company that represents an outstanding example of excellence in viticulture and management. The recipient is an efficient and successful producer of quality winegrapes, recognized for innovation and leadership within the industry.
Fourth-generation farmer Steve Schafer is an officer of Schafer Ranch, owner of San Joaquin Wine Company and former chair of the CAWG board of directors. As an innovative winegrape grower and vintner, he is deeply invested and involved in all aspects of the industry. For nearly 20 years, his visionary leadership and proactive efforts to advance sustainable winegrowing practices have helped to ensure that his and other vineyard and winery operations continue to be successful.
The Leader of the Year award recognizes an individual whose record of exceptional leadership has benefitted California’s wine industry and is an inspiration to others. The recipient has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to issues of significant importance to winegrape growers and has achieved lasting changes to promote and protect the interests of California winegrape growers.
Karissa Kruse is the president of Sonoma County Winegrowers, owner of a 12-acre vineyard and partner in Argot Wines. She is a selfless and compassionate leader who worked extensively with growers, employees and community members during and after the October 2017 wildfires. She is also guiding the initiative to make Sonoma County the nation’s first 100 percent sustainable wine region. Her actions are part of a history of leadership focusing on communication, building relationships, strategic thinking and giving back.
“Steve and Karissa are widely respected for their many years of effort to promote California’s winegrape growers,” said CAWG President John Aguirre. “Both are exceptional leaders within their communities, and outstanding ambassadors for sustainable winegrowing practices and California wine. CAWG is honored to recognize them for their unwavering dedication and many contributions to California’s winegrape growing community.”
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Awards of Excellence Reception & Dinner- Tuesday, July 17 - Silverado Resort and Spa, Napa
Join CAWG to help us recognize our 2018 Grower and Leader of the year with a reception and awards dinner taking place on Tuesday, July 17th at the Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa.
>> Register online for Speaker Program & Awards of Excellence Dinner
>> Download Registration form
Grower of the Year Award
The Grower of the Year Award is the highest honor given by CAWG. The award is bestowed annually to an individual, family or company who represents an outstanding example of excellence in viticulture and management, and is recognized by others for innovation and leadership within the industry. A central purpose for bestowing the Grower of the Year Award is to identify and promote outstanding examples of efficient, successful producers of quality California winegrapes. This award is exclusive to CAWG members only. Nominees may be an individual, family or company. Consideration will be given only to nominations that clearly address the criteria listed on this form. Nominations or endorsements received after the submission deadline shall not be permitted.
Previous Grower of the Year Award winners
John Kautz, John Kautz family; Steve McIntyre, Monterey Pacific; The Ledbetter Family; Jerry and Bruce Fry, Mohr-Fry Ranches; and Brad & Randy Lange, LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards.
Leader of the Year Award
The Leader of the Year Award is given to the grower whose record of exceptional leadership has benefited California’s wine industry. By giving this award, the association seeks to recognize and promote an outstanding example of leadership for the purpose of bringing credit to the industry and inspiring others to lead as well. This award is exclusive to CAWG members. Nominees must be an individual who is a grower or is associated with a winegrape growing operation. Consideration will be given only to nominations that clearly address the criteria listed on this form. Nominations or endorsements received after the submission deadline shall not be permitted.
Previous Leader of the Year Award winners
Nat DiBuduo, Allied Grape Growers; Ben Drake, Drake Enterprises; Richard Kheen; Volker Eisele, Volker Eisele Family Estate; Richard Smith, Smith Family Wines; and Al Scheid, Scheid Vineyards.