Business Development

Sonoma County BEST (Building Economic Success Together) kicked off the "100 in 100" effort on March 18. BEST coordinates volunteers to launch a regional business retention and expansion initiative, meeting with over 100 companies in 100 days. This "100 in 100" initiative leads to requests for assistance from companies, which BEST is tracking and also coordinating action with our community partners to implement. These business-assistance requests range from helping with permitting issues to finding talent to helping connect companies with prospective business partners or customers. Last year, BEST worked with 169 companies, resulting in 306 business-assistance requests. This played an integral part in BEST's helping to add 841 jobs in 2012.Education

Petaluma Educational Foundation has been seeing increased activity in its TEC initiative, short for "Transforming Education in the Classroom." Launched in September 2011, the initiative seeks to create a conduit to provide the latest education technology to Petaluma schools and teachers. More than 80 percent of the foundation's "major-impact" grants, which award sums from $2,001 to $15,000, went to fund technology requests. More than $165,000 in those grants were awarded to 21 out of 37 schools in Petaluma.

Riley Flanagan, an eighth-grade student at Sonoma Country Day School, hosted a wine dinner in Healdsburg to benefit the the Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County (4Cs). It runs 12 Sonoma County preschools for more than 550 children from lower-income families. The event was sponsored by Flanagan Wines, Baci Cafe and Wine Bar and Alain-Martin Pierret. The event brought together 75 people from across Sonoma County and raised $15,000 net for 4Cs.Manufacturing

Santa Rosa-based Zap said it is adding compressed natural gas power to its line of alternative-energy vehicles. Zap Jonway announced that it is launching its first such vehicle with Jonway Auto's A380 sport-utility vehicle. Named CN 380, it is focused on the accelerating growth in natural-gas vehicles in many developing countries and in the United States. Wine

Viña Perez Cruz, a family-owned producer of 100 percent estate-bottled red wines from the Maipo Alto Valley region of Chile, appointed Sebastopol-based Paul Hobbs Imports as its U.S. importer.

DAOU Vineyards and Winery of Paso Robles has retained Napa-based Wine Spoken Here, directed by Tim McDonald and Associates, as the public relations agency of record.

Santa Rosa-based Food & Wine Trails announced six new "wine shore adventures" for 2013, bringing to 20 the total number of "wine ports" the tour company serves. This expansion is due to the explosive growth and interest US consumers now have in wine and wine education, and the difficulty wine lovers have had in gaining access to top quality wineries from European cruise ports.

Napa County Board of Supervisors accepted a $78,000-plus donation from Constellation Brands, Inc., one of the world's largest wine companies, that will benefit the Comprehensive Services for Older Adults division of the Napa County Health & Human Services Agency. The donation of 24 workstations enables the division to accommodate added staff to meet an increased work load.