04.10.2018  
 

DiBuduo Retiring from Allied Growers

Jeff Bitter to take over Californian association for wine grape growers

 
by Wines & Vines staff
 
“judgement“
 
Nat DiBuduo speaking at the 2012 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento, Calif.

Fresno, Calif.—The Allied Grape Growers, AGG, announced in a statement that Nat DiBuduo is retiring as president and CEO of the group at the end of June.

The AGG’s board also announced vice president of operations Jeff Bitter as the next president of the statewide marketing group that has more than 500 members.

“Serving California winegrape growers since 2000 has been the pinnacle of my career,” DiBuduo said in the statement announcing the change. “My previous roles in farm management, independent consulting and vineyard development positioned me to understand the challenges facing California grape growers and equipped me with the desire and ability to make a difference.”

The AGG praised DiBuduo for his advocacy on behalf of its members as well as securing financial stability “with a solid grower base and excellent winery relations,” and his “tireless” work on numerous industry boards and committees.

DiBuduo’s remarks during the annual state of the industry session at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium were a regular highlight of the wine industry’s largest annual conference. In recent years, DiBuduo had bemoaned falling prices for grapes from the interior valleys of the state and urged Californian wineries to be more competitive against low-priced, imported wines despite the wider premiumization trend in the U.S. market. 

“The decision to transition to the next phase for me was not an easy one but passing the baton to Jeff and the next generation of this dedicated staff is exciting,” DiBuduo said. “I know Jeff is a leader who is prepared to move AGG forward. He has the insight and commitment needed to continue the legacy of serving our membership and the industry.”

A native of the San Joaquin Valley of California, DiBuduo earned a bachelor's degree in plant science and viticulture from California State University, Fresno in 1973. DiBuduo managed vineyards in almost every major grape growing region in California before joining the AGG. 

Bitter has worked for the association since 1997 and holds a master's degree in business administration and completed the California Agricultural Leadership Program.

“I firmly believe that there is something to be learned from everyone, and I have been fortunate to work directly with someone who offered a great deal,” Bitter said in the AGG statement. “Nat has been a wealth of knowledge and a strong leader, and he has built a solid foundation for this association. … I look forward to incorporating the staff’s passion for excellent service with my personal desire for top performance.”

Bitter will assume responsibility for association affairs that pertain to the fiscal year starting July 1, while DiBuduo will complete the current fiscal year. Following his June retirement, DiBuduo plans to work in an agricultural real estate brokerage and to remain involved with local farming and community groups.

 

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