North Bay business briefs from Ultragenyx, Wine Industry Expo, College of Marin and more

Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: RARE), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel products for rare and ultra-rare diseases announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Dojolvi (triheptanoin) as a source of calories and fatty acids for the treatment of pediatric and adult patients with molecularly confirmed long-chain fatty acid oxidation disorders (LC-FAOD). They are a group of rare, lifelong and life-threatening genetic disorders in which the body is unable to convert long-chain fatty acids into energy.

Ultragenyx expects Dojolvi to be available to patients in the next 30 days. To support access, Ultragenyx’s UltraCare program helps patients and caregivers understand insurance coverage and assists them in finding financial support for Ultragenyx medicines, including Dojolvi, and for the administration of them. Dedicated in-house UltraCare Guides are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time at 888-756-8657.

With the coronavirus pandemic, major wine industry conferences in California have been evaluating whether to continue with plans for in-person events several months from now.

The 2020 Wine Industry Expo Trade Show & Conference is still on track to be held Thursday, Dec. 3, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, according to organizer Wine Industry Network.

“Different localities are currently experiencing varying levels of success and failure in containing the spread of COVID-19, and it seems to be changing on a daily/weekly basis,” wrote network founder George Christie on July 15. “However, we are optimistic and believe there is sufficient time between now and December 3rd for the North Coast community to get the spread under control, so that we can proceed safely with the WIN Expo, and as of today, we are not planning to cancel or postpone this year’s show.“

Wine Industry Network intends to release an update after Labor Day on whether the WIN Expo will proceed as planned.

But organizers of the 2021 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium announced the event will be presented online as a virtual conference on Jan. 26–28, 2021. In addition, the Unified will host a virtual trade show throughout the three days, with an additional half day on Friday morning, Jan. 29, 2021. The Unified was scheduled to occur on Jan. 12 – 14, 2021, at the Cal Expo grounds.

“First and foremost, the Unified Symposium is about serving the interests of the people who make the wine industry so special. The decision to host the event online comes at a great cost, but the welfare of our attendees, exhibitors and the people of California is our greatest priority,” said John Aguirre, CAWG president. Aguirre added, “We will deliver an excellent event online and provide the quality of service our attendees and stakeholders expect.”

College of Marin, along with 63 other community colleges, has joined the California Community College Equity Leadership Alliance to confront racial inequities within their educational system.

This alliance was started by Shaun Harper, Ph.D., at University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center to support community colleges in addressing issues of racial and educational inequities. Harper began the alliance in Los Angeles in January and launched the initiative statewide in the wake of mass protests fueled by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP), has been approved for an interest rate reduction from 7% to 5.99%. The program has funded thousands of projects since 2009, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing jobs countywide. Earlier this year, the program expanded and now includes a resiliency component for property owners to fortify their buildings against disasters, ultimately reducing more emissions and further working toward climate-saving efforts.

For more information about the program and how it can be used to finance the purchase and installation of more than 100 improvements including solar panels, battery back-up technology, windows, roofing, siding, fire hardening, and earthquake safety features, call 707-565-6470 or email

The Napa Valley Vintners has launched a matchmaking webpage that connects job seekers with Napa Valley winemaking teams looking to hire this harvest season.

In a typical year, Napa Valley’s harvest intern positions are largely sought out by international applicants. With the interruption of international travel, and a freeze on J-1 educational exchange visas related to Covid-19, winemakers are optimisitc that workforce needs will be filled by local talent.

More than 25 Napa Valley wineries are currently seeking interns, and hope to attract workers who want to deepen their wine knowledge or wish to explore a career in winemaking.

Applicants are encouraged to explore job postings at

The Hess Collection announced the Pour One, Plant One program, in partnership with The National Forest Foundation. Through Pour One, Plant One, Hess has committed to supporting long-term environmental efforts, with each bottle of its Hess Select range of wines sold over the next year contributing towards the planting of 25,000 trees in National Forests around the United States.

From July 2020 through June 2021, sales of Hess Select wines will support the National Forest Foundation as they work to reforest and strengthen national forests around the country. The organization takes a science-based approach, focusing efforts on high priority regions across the country, each with their own unique reforestation needs. The Pour One, Plant One program will be supported with digital advertising, in-store POS, social engagement, and a 2021 consumer sweepstakes.

Redwood Credit Union has been named a Top 10 Credit Union in California, and the highest-ranked credit union in northern California by Forbes magazine’s list of America’s Best Credit Unions. Of the nation’s 5,200 credit unions, Redwood is one of only 182 in the United States to be included on the list.

Forbes surveyed more than 25,000 people nationwide about their banking relationships, asking participants to answer 25 questions about their overall satisfaction with their financial institution, as well as their satisfaction in the categories of trust, digital services, financial advice, branch services, and transparency of terms and conditions.

Sebastopol grain-to-glass craft spirits pioneer Spirit Works Distillery has been named “2020 Distillery of the Year” by the American Distilling Institute, winning its national Bubble Cap Award.

Established by the institute in 2010, when the industry reached 400 craft distilleries, the annual Bubble Cap Award for “Distillery of the Year” (named for a device utilized in distillation) is given to “the one distillery of the year that represents the very best in the world of artisan distilling: excellence in quality of spirits, innovation, transparency, authenticity of approach, sustained company growth, community involvement, and embodying the ethos of craft.”

By ADI’s definition, a craft distillery must produce less than 100,000 proof gallons per year, be independently owned and operated, and must actually distill their own products.

Spirit Works Distillery produces spirits in the heart of Sonoma wine country, including vodka, gin, sloe gin, barrel gin, Navy Strength gin, straight wheat and rye whiskeys and most recently, a Four Grain Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs has collaborated with Ashes & Diamonds Winery in Napa Valley to create 18 individual, hand-painted magnum Rosé bottles which are on sale.

Each handcrafted bottle by Karen O will sell for $250, with 100% of the proceeds going to The Okra Project, a collective that seeks to address the global crisis faced by Black Trans people by providing home-cooked, culturally specific meals, monetary grocery assistance and food education. Ashes & Diamonds Winery is located at the gateway of Napa Valley along its main artery, Highway 29.

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