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Wine Institute Celebrates 75th

August 2009
by Jim Gordon
Napa, Calif. -- Members and guests of California's pre-eminent wine lobbying organization reviewed the progress of their industry since the repeal of Prohibition during a 75th anniversary party June 8 at Silverado Resort. Industry consultants Jon Fredrikson and Evan Goldstein recounted "Milestones of California Wine" in an entertaining multimedia presentation that highlighted marketing trends and American culinary developments over the decades.

Goldstein led a tasting of three wines that represented milestones: Christian Brothers California Cream Sherry, typical of the sweet and fortified wines that made up much of the state's production through the 1960s; Fetzer Vineyards Valley Oaks California Chardonnay, one of the "fighting varietals" that dominated the 1980s marketplace; and a 1998 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot Three Palms, which symbolized the hundreds of boutique wineries that came into their own in the past two decades.

Since 1934, Wine Institute has been instrumental in establishing California wine as a powerful market and economic force. It always prioritized public policy for wine in the United States. "We address today's challenges as an organization more than 1,000-strong…that accounts for $18 billion in retail sales or two-thirds of the U.S. wine market and over $1 billion in exports to 122 countries," said Robert P. Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute.

Wine Institute Anniversary
Wine Institute president Robert Koch (left) and Margaret Duckhorn (right) toast Congressmen Mike Thompson and George Radanovich for their work with the Congressional Wine Caucus. All photos courtesy of Wine Institute.
Wine Institute Anniversary
Kathleen Heitz Myers of Heitz Wine Cellars chats with Bert Silk of Constellation Wines.
Wine Institute Anniversary
Earl and Linda Ault own Cedar Mountain Winery in the Livermore Valley, Calif.

Wine Institute Anniversary
Eric Wente of Wente Family Vineyards (from left), Ed Matovcik of Beringer Vineyards, Kelly Decker of Harlan Estate and Erik Harvey of Harlan Estate celebrate the Wine Institute.

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