Gary Farrell Winery opens new tasting room

The Gary Farrell Winery has opened up a new tasting room at its facility on Westside Road in Healdsburg.

The new Salon Tasting Room officially opened on Saturday. San Francisco-based architect Michael Guthrie designed the facility, which was completed after a year of renovations.

The winery said the new space — a contemporary design with organic finishes — will allow visitors a more personalized experience for tastings.

New president hired at Dutton-Goldfield Winery

Peter Heyworth has been hired as president at Dutton-Goldfield Winery in Sebastopol.

The position was newly created to help establish and implement new marketing and sales strategies for the family-operated winery in the Russian River Valley. The winery is owned by winemaker Dan Goldfield and grape grower Steve Dutton.

Heyworth has held upper management positions at such alcoholic beverage companies as Diageo, Foster’s Wine Estates and Independent Distillers. He also served as vice president of sales and marketing at Apollo Research, a U.K.-based tech firm.

“Over the years, Dan has proven himself to be one of California’s most cerebral and insightful winemakers. And Steve has built a reputation as one of the state’s most respected grape growers. This is a winery that is fiercely independent and proudly local. I was hired to ensure they stay that way,” Heyworth said in a statement.

Grape fees to combat Pierce’s disease will rise

California Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross has approved a fee increase on wine grapes that will be used in programs to combat Pierce’s disease and other vineyard pests.

Ross accepted the recommendation of a state board to increase the assessment to $1.50 per every $1,000 of grapes picked during this year’s harvest.

The rate last year was $1.25 per $1,000.

The money goes to programs that work to combat Pierce’s disease, which is transmitted by the glassy-winged sharpshooter insect.

The disease impedes water flow in the grapevine and ultimately kills it.

The funds also are used for research on other grapevine threats such as mealybugs, brown marmorated stink bug, red blotch virus, fanleaf virus, and the leafroll virus.

Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com.