Winegrape Commission Board Members Welcomed

By Susan Stout, Contributing Writer, Record Bee

KELSEYVILLE — The Lake County Winegrape Commission (LCWC) members welcomed two new members to its board of directors following an election completed by the region’s winegrowers; Bill Oldham of Oldham Vineyards and Bonnie Sears of Beckstoffer Vineyards will be officially seated during the commission’s board meeting in May.

Concurrently, the commission will be thanking outgoing members Jeff Lyon and Randy Krag for their eight years of service on the commission’s board of directors. Both have served four consecutive two-year terms, the maximum allowed for commission directors.

“The commission has been extremely fortunate to have the viticultural expertise and industry insight that Jeff and Randy have provided. We truly appreciate their eight years of dedicated service to our winegrowers,” LCWC President Debra Sommerfield said. “We also look forward to welcoming our two new members, each of whom bring a tremendous amount of wine industry experience, and we are confident their creativity and know-how will assist the board and effectively represent our winegrowers.”

Lyon provided guidance and leadership as the commission’s secretary-treasurer and as a member of both the executive committee and the finance committee.

Krag served as chairman of the research and education committee, providing the vision and leadership that led to the creation of the LCWC’s Master Vigneron Academy, a professional development program for vineyard managers and supervisors now in its third year.

Bill OldhamOldham works as a pest control advisor and location manager at the Lyman Group and Ag Unlimited in Lakeport where he advises winegrape growers throughout the North Coast, including Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties. A Lake County native, Oldham owns and operates a family farm in Upper Lake where he grows Sauvignon Blanc wine grapes and pears. Currently a resident of Redwood Valley, Oldham says he has been involved in the family farm all his life. Oldham is also a partner at Mt. Konocti Winery and has been a member there since the 1980s.


Bonnie SearsSears, office manager for Beckstoffer Vineyards, Red Hills, has worked for various agriculture-related businesses, including Snows Lake Vineyard, where she was involved in multiple aspects of the winegrowing business. Previously she was employed by a fruit importer in Kelseyville.

Sears and her family moved to Lake County in 1987. She served two years on the board of the Lake County Winery Association and was on the Wine Adventure committee for several years. She has also been involved with the Lake County Chapter of California Women for Agriculture. In 2010, she decided she wanted to know more about the business of growing grapes and began her pursuit of a certificate in viticulture with, an online viticulture program.

Elections were conducted among all eligible growers (those who produced more than 25 tons of winegrapes in the 2012 harvest). Ballots were submitted directly to and counted by the auditing firm of Pehling & Pehling.

The purpose of the LCWC is to implement effective marketing, education and research programs on behalf of Lake County winegrape growers.

The LCWC is a marketing order established in 1991 to promote the region’s premium winegrapes and to assist the region’s winegrape growers. For information, call the office at 279-2633 or visit



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