Sonoma County Barrel Auction honorees selected

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County’s Barrel Auction honorees announced

Sonoma County Barrel Auction selected honorees for the event being held virtually this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The online auction, which is specifically for trade buyers, will be held from June 16 to 18 since Sonoma County Vintners was forced to cancel the live auction. Online bids can be placed over those two days.

Steve MacRostie and Marcello Monticelli were named honorary icons for the event. They helped shape the heritage and history of wine in Sonoma County. Jordan Kivelstadt has been named the innovator of the year for forward-thinking industry practices.

MacRostie started making wine here in the 1970s and worked to establish the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance and also served as president for the Carneros Wine Alliance. He founded MacRostie Winery & Vineyards in 1987, which is known for its wines from grapes of the Sonoma Coast appellation.

A native of Italy, Monticelli started at E. & J. Gallo Winery in 1970 under the guidance of its co-founder, Julio Gallo. In 1989, Monticelli took on oversight of coastal winemaking for Gallo. He currently serves as the master winemaker and vice president of North Coast winemaking for Gallo.

Kivelstadt established Kivelstadt Cellars in 2007 and has emerged as one of the state’s pioneering winemakers. He plans this year to open Kivelstadt Cellars Wine Garden & Eatery, which would be the state’s first wine garden. He also founded Free Flow Wines in 2009, which offers wine on tap in stainless steel kegs, and Essentially Geared Wines in 2017, which produces single-serve cans.

Napa supervisors ask for leniency on tasting rooms

Napa County Board of Supervisors wrote to Gov. Gavin Newsom and top state health officials on May 18 and urged them to approve an earlier reopening of public visitation at local wineries and wine tasting rooms as part of the resumption of economic activity statewide during the ongoing pandemic.

The county already reopened in-person dining and retail on May 21, under social distancing and safety protocols based on state guidelines. Napa County leaders now are lobbying Newsom to allow them to take the additional step of fully reopening the wine sector.

Napa city and county are severely hurting since their main industry of winery tourism has been nonexistent for more than two months, resulting in the loss of sales and hotel tax revenues. For example, the city of Napa anticipates a $20 million shortfall as a result of the pandemic.

Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to

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