Farm Bureau hires new government relations head

Andrea Rodriguez has been hired as government relations director for the Sonoma County Farm Bureau.

Rodriguez will be responsible for monitoring government proposals and actions regarding agriculture, which locally range from efforts to restrict wine tourism to the emerging legalized cannabis industry. She previously served for eight years as the director of government and community relations for Sonoma State University.

Prior to SSU, Rodriguez worked for five years as the marketing and special events director for the Volunteer Center for Sonoma County. She has an undergraduate degree from Whittier College and a master’s degree in organizational development from SSU.

“We believe Andrea’s experience and skill set will be highly valuable to our organization’s efforts to protect and progress agriculture throughout the county,” said Kim Vail, executive director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau.

Mendocino County Fair’s Wine Competition winners

Navarro Vineyards garnered the most medals at the 39th annual Mendocino County Fair Wine Competition that was held Aug. 4 at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville.

The Philo-based wine company won three Best of Show awards, nine double gold awards, 10 gold and six silver medals.

The Best of Show winners included Philo’s Roederer Estate NV brut rose for the sparkling category; Navarro’s 2016 Edelzwicker for white wine; Navarro’s 2016 rose for the rose category; Philo’s Lazy Creek Vineyards’ 2015 pinot noir for red wine; Navarro’s 2016 late harvest riesling cluster select for dessert wine.

“I’ve been doing this competition for over 20 years, and these are the best wines yet,” judge Mark Bowery said in a statement.

The gold medal winning wines will be poured at the Mendocino County Fair in Boonville from Sept. 15 to 17.

Wine Industry Financial Symposium next month

The Wine Industry Financial Symposium will be held Sept. 25 and 26 at the Napa Valley Marriott hotel.

The 26th annual event will feature a keynote address from William Newlands, the chief operating officer of Constellation Brands Inc., the country’s third largest wine company that owns such local wineries as Robert Mondavi in Napa Valley, Clos du Bois winery in Geyserville and Simi Winery in Healdsburg.

Panel discussions include the growing convergence between wine and spirits; an update on merger and acquisition activity; and increased consolidation within the wine distribution system.

The cost of attendance for the conference is $850 per person. For more information visit:

Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to