Michael Haney, who has had the job on an interim basis since February, is the new executive director of the Sonoma County Vintners, a trade group representing about 200 wineries and affiliated businesses.
“The board voted unanimously to appoint Michael Haney,” Russell Joy, board president, stated in the announcement Oct. 1. “He leads with vision and purpose and is focused on long-term results. Under his direction as interim executive director, Sonoma County Vintners has successfully executed an array of programs and events, which continue to raise awareness for and elevate Sonoma County as a world-class wine region. His presence in the community, work ethic, compassion and authenticity reflect who we are as vintners and growers, and there couldn’t be a better choice to reflect this as the leader of a vintner association.”
The previous executive director, Jean Arnold Sessions, stepped down in January after two years at the helm of the nonprofit group.
At that time, Haney had served three years as director of membership and government relations. In that role, Haney has led community outreach for the group, which has eight employees and an annual budget of about $2.5 million. He said he has seen some improvements in the debate over winery expansion projects in Sonoma County that have triggered opposition among local residents.
As executive director, Haney oversees Sonoma County Vintners and Sonoma County Vintners Foundation.
A member of the Martinelli family behind Martinelli Winery and Vineyards, Haney also produces his own wine under Black Dog Cellars, specializing in boutique case lots of Russian River pinot noir, zinfandel, syrah and chardonnay.