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Winemakers Unite in San Francisco

February 2009
 
by Kate Lavin
 
 
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Joann and Matt Reidy's wine label (left), Connor Brennan Cellars, is named after their sons.John Tarabini (right) is president of the San Francisco Wine Association and Damian Rae Winery.
PHOTO: Bridget Williams
 
San Francisco, Calif. -- Making wine for their Damian Rae label at Crushpad the last four years, John and Sharol Tarabini befriended dozens of fellow boutique winery owners. The family-owned wineries there produced between 50 and 500 cases annually, and the principals possessed a love for sharing the wine they'd made. But they were lacking a key ingredient to success: visibility. And that gave the Tarabinis an idea.

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Sharol Tarabini (left) pours for guests at the wine association launch party in San Francisco. John and Carolyn Aver (right) replanted their vineyard to Pinot Noir in California's Uvas Valley.
 
Sixteen member wineries recently celebrated the launch of the San Francisco Wine Association (SFWA) by pouring for about 250 guests, several of whom were city winemakers who'd come to check out the event before joining themselves.

"This is a different concept of a winery," John Tarabini said. "You need great grapes, great winemakers, and you're going to make great wines."

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About 250 people join the founding members of the San Francisco Wine Association to celebrate the group's collective effort to market and draw attention to wines crafted in the urban center.
PHOTO: Frank Anzalone
 
With that in mind, SFWA's mission is to provide a common platform from which member wineries can get exposure they would be unable to achieve individually, through large tasting events, marketing initiatives and an online presence.

"It made sense to band together--power in numbers," said Mark Moretti, a longtime hobbyist who launched the Mark Moretti Winery label in 2004.

Members pay dues, but unlike many nonprofit trade groups, the SFWA business model is a corporation.
 
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