Calif. Dept. of Food & Ag. Awards Specialty Crop Block Grant to LCWC

Kelseyville, Calif. October 21, 2015 – The Lake County Winegrape Commission announced it has been awarded a Specialty Crop Block Grant by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for $302,523 to support a 30-month long project designed to promote Lake County winegrapes and wines to key audiences as a means to increase demand for Lake County wines and, in turn, prices paid for Lake County winegrapes.

The project will focus on creating and delivering a three-tiered, in-depth educational course about the Lake County winegrowing region as a means to educate technical audiences, members of the trade, and consumers.

“We are honored to receive this award,” said Debra Sommerfield, president of the Lake County Winegrape Commission. “This project actually builds on a previous grant-funded project, which revealed an opportunity for a focused, technical course to further educate key influencers about the distinctiveness of our region and the high-quality winegrapes grown here.”

The project’s goals are to create awareness, build demand, and increase the competitiveness of Lake County’s winegrapes and wines through a series of outreach events and advertising in key markets.

“We are so excited to be working together to promote the Lake County wine region with this project,” said Terry Dereniuk, executive director of the Lake County Winery Association, a key partner on the project. “This grant is a huge plus for our wine industry. We are small in comparison to many other regions, so this award affords us the opportunity to tell the story of the Lake County wine region in ways that we would otherwise not be able to do.”

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is a competitive grant program administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture. In 2015, CDFA received $19.7 million that will fund 66 projects focusing on market enhancement, specialty crop access and nutrition education, equipping current and next generation specialty crop farmers, environmental stewardship and conservation, and plant health and pest management. The Lake County Winegrape Commission, in collaboration with the Lake County Winery Association, submitted a concept proposal in December 2014 and was invited to submit a full grant proposal in March, which was selected for funding. For information about the grant program, visit: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/Specialty_Crop_Competitiveness_Grants/FFY2015.html.

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