Lodi Winegrape Commission Announces New Executive Director

The Lodi Winegrape Commission, representing more than 750 winegrape growers farming 110,000 acres which includes 85 wineries in the Lodi American Viticulture Area (AVA), has announced the appointment of Stuart Spencer as Executive Director, effective immediately.

Spencer was promoted from Program Manager for the Lodi Winegrape Commission, a position he has held since June 1, 1999. During his 19 years of service to the Commission, Spencer has led many of the marketing, promotional and educational efforts for the Lodi winegrape industry.   He has played a key role developing the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center, the LODI RULES for Sustainable Winegrowing™, and the LoCA advertising campaign. Spencer is actively involved in the Commission’s consumer and trade marketing events including ZinFest and Lodi Wine & Chocolate. He has developed many of the Commission’s promotional materials including websites and advertising campaigns.  He is well-versed in the history of the region, the vineyards and the wines, and has worked diligently to increase quality awareness for Lodi wines and winegrapes.

In his new position at the Lodi Winegrape Commission, Spencer will oversee the Commission’s marketing, public relations, strategic planning, and regional branding efforts, as well as grower and vintner relations. He will lead the Winegrape Commission team of 12, under the direction of the board of directors, and will be the primary spokesperson for the Lodi wine industry.  The Lodi AVA is the second largest in California and crushes about 20% of California’s premium winegrapes. The region’s annual yield of over 743,000 tons of winegrapes was valued at over $450 million in 2017.

To the Lodi Winegrape Commission, Spencer brings experience, proficiency and deep wine industry knowledge.  “The past 19 years have been an incredible journey, and we’ve accomplished many great things working together as a staff, board, growers and vintners.  It has been this collaborative culture, that puts personal interests aside, and works for the common good of our community that inspired me to pursue this position.  I truly believe that we have made a difference, and that Lodi’s best days are ahead. The opportunities in Lodi are tremendous, and I’m very excited to help guide this great community to new heights.”

Leading one of California’s most historic winegrowing regions, Spencer will oversee the Commission’s annual budget to market the Lodi region, facilitate grower education, viticultural research, and expand awareness of the sustainable farming practices of the LODI RULES™ – a third-party-certified sustainable winegrowing program started by the Lodi Winegrape Commission in 2005.

“We are thrilled to have Stuart step into the Executive Director role. He has been a huge advocate to the region and we are certain he will continue to lift the perceptions and awareness of Lodi wines” says Kendra Altnow, the Vice Chairman of the Lodi Winegrape Commission Board of Directors.

For additional information about Stuart Spencer, images or to schedule an interview, please contact Kela Driggs at Calhoun & Company Communications at 415-346-2929 or kela@calhounwine.com.

About Lodi Wine Country

Located 40 miles south of Sacramento and 90 miles east of San Francisco, the Lodi wine region benefits from a classic Mediterranean climate of warm days and cool evenings. An historic winegrowing region since the 1850’s, Lodi cultivates more than 100 diverse winegrape varieties. From Iberian varietals like Tempranillo and Albariño to classic Rhône varietals such as Grenache and Cinsault, Lodi offers wines for even the most discerning palate.

The region also serves as home to over 700 winegrowers and 85 boutique wineries specializing in small-lot, handmade wines that have garnered major awards at domestic and international wine competitions. In 2015, Lodi was awarded the prestigious Wine Star Award for “Wine Region of the Year” from Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The recent increase in critic and consumer attention paid to Lodi-designate wines has fueled an astronomical growth in demand for Lodi wines, as well as tourism to the wine region.

Lodi is a leader when it comes to sustainable viticulture. Created in 2005, LODI RULES™ is California’s first 3rd-party-certified sustainable winegrowing program and has received significant recognition over the years, having been awarded the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) in 2006 and again in 2014. For more information about the Lodi wine region, visit lodiwine.com and lodigrowers.com.

 

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