Master Vigneron Academy graduates class of 2013

Susan Stout • Contributing Writer

Master Vigneron Logo KELSEYVILLE – The Lake County Winegrape Commission is graduating its second class of Master Vigneron Academy® participants, a select group of supervisors and foremen from Lake County vineyards. Seven individuals completed this year’s courses and will be honored at a graduation ceremony February 4, from 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m., at the Soper-Reese Theatre in Lakeport.

The Academy graduates for 2013 are Moises Aguilar and Francisco Duarte, Beckstoffer Vineyards, Red Hills; Octavio and Adolfo Calvillo, Rogers Vineyards; Jason Webb, Stonehouse Cellars; Juan Ramirez Arroyo, Robinson Lake Vineyards; and Jose Garcia, JAC, Lake County.

Vineyard owners interested in enrolling their supervisors and foremen in the 2014 Master Vigneron class are invited to attend the graduation event.

Graduation festivities will include information about the Academy, a ceremony to honor the graduates, and a buffet lunch. Graduates will receive a Master Vigneron certificate along with a Master Vigneron-branded cowboy hat and pruner holster.

Advanced registration for attendance is required. Call the Commission office at (707) 279-2633.

The first of its kind in the state, the Master Vigneron Academy was launched in 2012 by the Commission and is a year-long series of training sessions intended to “build capacity and effectiveness” of vineyard workers.

Designed for Spanish-speaking vineyard supervisors working in Lake County, the Academy educates mid-level vineyard supervisors about their roles and responsibilities in implementing quality winegrowing practices and farm worker productivity. The sessions provide a broad view of the industry with an introduction to the roles of the nursery and winery, aspects of business and finance, and current concepts of personnel management.

Key topics include vineyard development, canopy management, economics, personnel management and wine quality. Students learn about tools to strengthen their knowledge of viticulture and the wine industry and visit several sites including wineries, U.C. Davis, Foundation Plant Services, nurseries, as well as vineyards throughout the North Coast.

According to Lake County Winegrape Commission Education Coordinator Paul Zellman, the Commission’s goal with its Master Vigneron Academy is two-fold: production of high-quality winegrapes and professional development of extraordinary vineyard supervisors. The anticipated result is higher quality outputs in the vineyard with more efficient and skilled employees.

The Commission’s Education Committee chairman, Randy Krag of Beckstoffer Vineyards, is credited with the concept of the Master Vigneron Academy. Zellman coordinates the program on behalf of the Commission.

Master Vigneron Academy participants meet monthly January through August with a break for the harvest months of September and October before concluding with a meeting in November.

“Better-trained supervisors will have greater confidence and develop into more valued managers,” Zellman said. “It is hoped that employers will recognize this, leading to enhanced advancement opportunities in the vineyard and wine community.”

The Master Vigneron Academy Class of 2014 will travel to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento to participate in Spanish-language sessions and take a guided tour of the trade show. Transportation and lunch are provided.

The Lake County Winegrape Commission is a marketing order established in 1991 to promote the region’s premium winegrapes and to assist winegrape growers. For further information about the Master Vigneron Academy, call the Commission office at (707) 279-2633 or visit


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