Hank Wetzel, Founder and Family Partner of Alexander Valley Vineyards in Healdsburg, has been elected Wine Institute Board Chairman for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The election was held at Wine Institute’s 85th Annual Meeting of Members in Calistoga. Other board officers elected are John Sutton of The Wine Group in Livermore, first vice chairman; Suzanne Groth of Groth Vineyards & Winery in Oakville, second vice chairman; Rick Tigner of Jackson Family Wines in Santa Rosa, treasurer; and Randall Lange of LangeTwins Vineyards and Winery in Acampo, secretary. Bobby Koch is President and CEO of Wine Institute.
“I am honored to support Wine Institute’s work in public policy and advocacy for California wineries. We hope to extend or make permanent the federal excise tax reduction and continue to advance direct-to-consumer shipping initiatives to expand consumer access to California wines. Despite challenging tariffs, I also encourage wineries to take a long-term view on building export markets to keep California wines visible on a global basis,” said Wetzel. “All of these activities benefit both large and small wineries.”
Wetzel and multiple generations of the Wetzel family call their property at Alexander Valley Vineyards home. He worked in the vineyards at an early age and graduated from the University of California at Davis with a degree in Fermentation Science, developing a plan in his senior year for a small winery which became the blueprint for Alexander Valley Vineyards. He has held almost every position at the winery, and increased wine production over 42 years from 7,000 cases to more than 180,000 cases. The wines are now sold in every state as well as exported. From the start, Wetzel was committed to using many “green” sustainable practices, and the winery and vineyards are CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE through the CSWA third-party audit program and a participant in the Bay Area Green Business Program.
Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses, which works at the state, national and international levels to support California wineries. Based in San Francisco, with offices in Sacramento, Washington, D.C., six regions across the U.S. and 13 foreign countries, Wine Institute is guided by 80 vintners who are members and alternates on an active board of directors. The board elects the chairman and officers on an annual basis.
Wine Institute’s membership also elected new district and at-large directors and alternates. District directors and their alternates were elected on a one-member-one-vote basis in each district, following nominations by regional winery associations. They are: