A Sonoma Valley organization that is more than two decades old is celebrating the biggest economic boost in its history this week, as the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance has garnered a $357,000 block grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a multi-pronged marketing campaign.
“This is huge – it is absolutely an incredible opportunity for us that will benefit our partners, growers and vintners,” said Maureen Cottingham, the alliance’s executive director. “It will benefit the whole community and the entire Sonoma Valley.”
The grants, made through the 2013 Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) Program, assist growers of specialty crops and help strengthen and expand markets for their products, according to the USDA. The grants are paid for by the USDA with funds approved by Congress through the annual appropriations process.
The Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance will use the money to increase wine consumer awareness of the wines from the Sonoma Valley American Viticultural Area through a marketing campaign that will include website redesign, social media and email campaigns, and print and online advertising, Cottingham said. The money will be spent equally among those three areas, she added, with funds to be spent starting in early 2014 through early 2015.
Cottingham said she was grateful for the support of Supervisor Susan Gorin, Congressman Mike Thompson and a host of Sonoma Valley organizations.
“This is the first time we have ever been granted this much money and have the opportunity to spend it,” she said. “We’ve just gone through a rebranding launch with our members, so the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Our members are really excited about this.”