New Winegrape Commission
Board Members Elected
Lake County winegrowers recently elected two new members to the Lake County Winegrape Commission Board of Directors. Bill Oldham, Oldham Vineyards, and Bonnie Sears, Beckstoffer Vineyards, will begin their terms when they are officially seated during the Commission's May Board meeting.
Oldham and Sears will fill seats being vacated by outgoing Board Members Jeff Lyon and Randy Krag, each of whom has served on the Board for eight years (four consecutive two-year terms), the maximum allowed under Commission law.
Lyon has provided guidance and leadership as Secretary-Treasurer and as a member of both the Executive Committee and the Finance Committee. Krag has served as Chair of the Research-Education Committee, providing the vision and leadership that led to the Commission's Master Vigneron Academy, a professional development program for vineyard managers and supervisors, now in its third year.
"I want to be involved in the effort to increase awareness of the high quality of Lake County's grapes and wines. This business is extremely competitive, and I know we can compete with the best when it comes to wine quality and value." - Bill Oldham
Oldham works as a pest control advisor and location manager at the Lyman Group/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 also is a partner at Mt. Konocti Winery and has been a member there since the 1980s.
"We live in an amazing environment and community. I'm happy that I'm able to be part of the growth, and I want to share my passion for Lake County and the Lake County wine industry." -
Sears, office manager for Beckstoffer Vineyards - Red Hills, has worked for various agriculture-related businesses, including Snows Lake Vineyard, where she was involved in many 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 has served on the board of the Lake County Winery Association, on the Wine Adventure committee, and has had involvement 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 has begun her pursuit of a certificate in viticulture with VESTA-USA.org, 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 results were tabulated by the auditing firm of Pehling & Pehling, CPAs.