Longtime Sonoma County winegrape champion to retire

[caption id="attachment_67205" align="alignright" width="180"] Nick Frey[/caption]

SANTA ROSA -- Nick Frey, president of Sonoma County Winegrape Commission and its predecessor trade group for nearly 14 years, today formally announced he will retire this spring.

Mr. Frey, who turns 65 in April, plans to step down from the 1,800-plus-member organization in May. He announced his retirement at the commission's annual Dollars & Sense Seminar and trade show at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa.

He said he doesn't yet know what he's going to do next, but he said he probably will be helping the organization on a limited basis. The commission board will be starting a search process to find his replacement.

Three things he points to as achievements in his time at the helm of the commission are its formation in 2006, the approval of a conjunctive-labeling law for the county in 2010 and the launch last August of a three-way joint marketing campaign with Sonoma County Vintners and Sonoma County Tourism Bureau.

He joined Sonoma County Winegrape Association in May 1999. Seven years later, the marketing group became a winegrape commission, funded by mandatory assessments on growers. In August 2010, 86 percent of the county's growers voted to allow the commission to continue for another five years.

Also in August 2010, the Legislature approved a conjunctive-labeling law for Sonoma County, requiring wines from one of the county's American Viticultural Areas to also carry the county name on the label.

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