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Rodney Strong hires new sales executive

Rodney Strong Wine Estates in Healdsburg has hired Anthony Capobianco as vice president of its off-premise sale business.

Capobianco will lead a team of four national account directors in the newly created role to expand the winery’s presence and share among retail stores.

He most recently worked for Crossmark Inc., a sales and marketing company in Plano, Texas, where he managed strategic development and execution of the national off-premise grocery, wholesaler and drug business for the Kimberly- Clark Corp.

Previously, Capobianco spent nine years in various roles at MillerCoors and as national account director for Treasury Wine Estates.

“We have created this additional role and centralized our national account team under Anthony’s leadership, demonstrating our commitment to this important segment of the business and supporting the significant investment of our distributors against our national account customer base,” said Rodney Strong President Carmen Castaldi in a statement.

New winemaker at Lula Cellars in Philo

Matt Parish has assumed winemaking duties at Lula Cellars in Philo, taking over from founding winemaker Jeff Hansen. A New Zealand native, Parish was most recently chief winemaker for NakedWines.com, where he still continues to sell his Matt Parish brand. He also served as vice president and chief winemaker for the Americas at Treasury Wine Estates, a portfolio that included Beringer Vineyards in St. Helena, Stags’ Leap Winery in Yountville, Chateau St. Jean Winery in Kenwood and Etude Wines in Napa. He previously held winemaking roles at Constellation Brands and various companies in France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

Lula Cellars is located in the coastal area of Anderson Valley and is noted for its limited production wines.

“I’ve always loved pinot noir as a varietal and Anderson Valley is one of a few places in the world where I feel it truly expresses itself. Lula’s pinots take full advantage of that originality, and I’m looking forward to continuing the great tradition that founding winemaker Jeff Hansen started at Lula,” Parish said in a statement.

Rep. Thompson files bill to help farmers

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, has introduced legislation that would ease the estate tax burden for family-owned farms. The federal tax is assessed on property transferred from the deceased to their heirs.

The tax applies on estates valued at more than $5.49 million for an individual and $10.98 million for a married couple.

Thompson’s bill would create a deduction of up to $5.49 million — indexed for inflation — for family- owned businesses. Family-owned farms, under the measure, could instead deduct the entire value of their farmland. There is no cap on the farmland deduction. Families could benefit from the deduction as long as they operated the business for at least 10 years.

“Many family farms are rich in land but cash poor. A major tax on their estate could force them to sell off the very assets they worked so hard to build. That isn’t right,” Thompson said in a statement. “While some have proposed simply wiping out the estate tax altogether, we should address this specific issue without creating a new fiscal hole by fully repealing the tax.”

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