Hamel named honorary chair of wine auction

George Hamel Jr. of Hamel Family Wines in Sonoma has been named as the honorary chairman of the 2018 Sonoma County Wine Auction that will be held Sept. 22 at the La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard.

The event is sponsored by the Sonoma County Vintners and raises funds for local charities. Last year, bidders raised a record $5.2 million.

The focus for this year’s event will be on nonprofit groups aiding in wildfire recovery efforts.

Hamel and his wife, Pam, started making wine in 2006 after buying a Kenwood house with an acre of cabernet sauvignon grapes.

Their vineyards are located in the Sonoma Valley and Moon Mountain wine districts.

New winemaker takes over at B.R. Cohn Winery

Glenn Hugo has taken over as winemaker for Sonoma Valley’s B.R. Cohn Winery. Hugo will serve in the role while retaining the same duties at Girard Napa Valley.

Both wineries are owned by Vintage Wine Estates of Santa Rosa.

“I am delighted that Glenn has agreed to take on this dual winemaking role,” Marco DiGiulio, chief winemaker at Vintage Wine Estates, said in a statement. “His intellectual curiosity to explore stylistic differences between the two valleys prompted him to accept the challenge.”

Hugo started his career with Provenance Vineyards in St. Helena, where he studied under renowned Napa winemaker Tom Rinaldi.

While working as general manager of Bounty Hunter Wine Bar in Napa, Hugo met DiGiulio, who helped him launch his winemaking career at Girard.

New CEO appointed at Far Niente Wine Estates

Steven Spadarotto has been appointed CEO of Far Niente Wine Estates in Oakville.

The company houses such luxury wineries as Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel, Dolce and Bella Union in the Napa Valley and the EnRoute winery located in the Russian River Valley.

Spadarotto has more than 30 years of experience in the industry, having held general management and senior executive roles with Jackson Family Farms, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and, most recently at Francis Ford Coppola Presents, where he served as president and CEO for three years.

“It is a privilege to take on the role of CEO at Far Niente Wine Estates and to expand upon the foundations of great winemaking and brand building established over decades of stewardship,” Spadarotto said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to build on the foundation of luxury, quality and excellence that has served the company for so many decades, with the help of the longstanding management team and employees.”

GI Partners, a San Francisco-based private equity group, owns Far Niente. It also operated Duckhorn Vineyards in St. Helena until it sold it to TSG Consumer Partners in 2016 after a decade of ownership.

Outgoing CEO Dirk Hampson, a 36-year veteran of the company, will remain chairman of the board and continue to provide winemaking oversight.

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