Dr. Ayana Elizabet Johnson in conversation with Drew Isaacs at Ahead of the Curve
“It’s less about what I can do and more about what can we do.”
- Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, co-founder of Urban Ocean Lab
This statement was just one of the important messages that we took away from our bi-annual event, Ahead of the Curve, because collaboration is critical for us to succeed. In the first few months of this year, our staff produced more than a dozen workshops, events, and classes on topics ranging from Spanish for the Wine Industry to Water Conservation—all of which are meant to inspire action. Each provides valuable resources and tools that cultivate viticultural excellence and environmental stewardship, and they simply would not happen without teamwork or without your support. Thank you.
Three Cheers for 48 Years and Grower of the Year!
On May 12, we celebrated 48 years! The evening was filled with thoughtful conversation, beautiful wines, culinary delights, and a toast to our work. We are thankful for our host, Paraduxx, caterer, Tre Posti, and sponsors for making the evening special.
The highlight of the evening was recognizing Garrett Buckland as the 2023 Napa Valley Grower of the Year. With special toasts to honor his agricultural leadership for the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and local community, it was a heartfelt tribute.
In the midst of all our spring activities, there was some fun too! On April 15, Jim and Laura Regusci threw open their doors for the 2022 Harvest STOMP buy-a-spot party, Good Times Ahead! Skeet Shooting with Congressman Mike Thompson. More than 50 people gathered for an afternoon of skeet shooting, a delicious supper, and line-up of Napa Valley wines from the Regusci family.
“Wine is the rock star of agriculture and is ideally placed to lead conversations about climate change and green credentials.”
– Ahead of the Curve speaker Jamie Goode
Ahead of the Curve, held in March, is a cornerstone event for Napa Valley Grapegrowers, when we take a 10,000-foot view of our industry. It’s meant to be provocative and promote a forward gaze. This year’s event brought viticultural excellence onto the same stage as climate resiliency. Speakers addressed risks and opportunities related to climate leadership, policy, consumer perception, global standards and supply chains. Read more.
Talking Architecture and Art with Suzanne Groth
When Judy and Dennis Groth left Santa Clara, once idyllic farmland that was slowly turning into urban sprawl, for Napa Valley it was a tough transition for Napa Valley Grapegrowers Board Director Suzanne Groth. As a teenager she wasn’t thrilled about moving to a former dairy farm. But later, as an adult there was no resisting the siren call of Oakville. In between Suzanne ventured away to study art and to paint before returning to Napa Valley. And after a couple of decades working for her parents, she took the helm as President and CEO of Groth Vineyards & Winery when her father retired in 2017. Today, her imprint on Groth, and the Oakville region, is as present as her striking paintings that grace the walls of the iconic winery.
But ask Suzanne to tell you about her art, and she begins her story by talking about her mother, who passed away in 2021. Judy, similar to other women who moved to Napa Valley to build a winery with their husbands in the 1970s and 80s, was instrumental in the construction and design of Groth. Judy had a fascination with California’s missions, which influenced the winery’s architecture and its pastel peach shade. And it wasn’t just the silhouette and color that inspired Judy, she was also drawn to the fountains, the exposed beams, and the wide corridors of the missions—all which is evident from the moment you cross Groth’s threshold onto the richly hued Spanish tiles to when you peer down upon the profusion of wisteria that when in bloom turns the courtyard into a work of art. Judy managed those millions of details while raising three teenagers in a new place—one that she and her husband invested their entire savings in.
When Suzanne was young, it was Judy who put paints in her hand and later, when Suzanne gifted her mother one of her boldly colored paintings, Judy said, “I know what I’m going to do with this.” She transformed it into the announcement for the next Groth release party. It was a hit and every year afterward Suzanne was asked to paint a new one for that year’s event. Among Suzanne’s admirers were Denise DeBartolo York and John York, who commissioned her to paint three works of art for the Forty-Niners stadium in Santa Clara.
Today, Suzanne mostly paints for her own enjoyment--running the winery and being a mother, she doesn’t have time to pursue her talents on a commercial basis. When she does paint, it’s mostly watercolors and it’s mostly as an escape from the news or politics. It’s easy to imagine that those paintings are as captivating as her earlier vibrant work, so hopefully those watercolors will find their place on the walls of Groth sometime soon.
Advocating for you
Napa Valley Grapegrowers staff (left to right) Quincy Scott, Molly Moran Williams, Ben O'Dwyer, Alexandra Konieczny, Emily Hegarty, and Caroline Fuechuk cuddle up with a crew of fire prevention kids.
For more than three years, Molly Moran Williams, our Industry and Community Relations Director, along with our Industry Issues Committee and community partners, has been tirelessly advocating for the additional funding from Napa County for a variety of wildfire initiatives, the support of state budget chairs for wildfire smoke exposure research, and so much more. Read about our recent advocacy work.
Inside our 2022 annual report, you’ll learn more about how your investment in our organization directly supported education and advocacy initiatives. In the new featured supporter highlight sections, you’ll also be introduced to Drew Isaacs, Barbara Gabel and Zach Zachowski, and Marjorie and Gordon Burns who all care deeply about fostering a strong grape-growing community today and for future generations. Read the Annual Report