The Lodi Winegrape Commission, which represents over 750 winegrowers in the Lodi AVA, has recently announced the appointment of Dr. Stephanie Bolton to Grower Communications & Sustainable Winegrowing Director. Bolton assumed her new role on August 15, 2016.
In her position at the Lodi Winegrape Commission, Bolton will provide targeted and daily support to Lodi winegrape growers in the areas of advanced grower education and outreach, marketing and promotions of the region’s diverse winegrapes, and – most notably – viticultural research and sustainability programming, including Lodi’s world-renowned Lodi Rules™ sustainable certification program. The Lodi AVA (Crush District 11) has one of the highest planted acreages of any AVA, with a unique profile where new vineyard plantings exist alongside century-old vines, soil types range from sandy loam to volcanic terrain, and just about every trellising system invented is being used. In this dynamic region, Bolton’s role is key in facilitating effective communications for progressive grape growing.
Bolton comes to the Winegrape Commission with a history of building strong relationships within the wine industry, having recently earned a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Georgia, where she studied fungi isolated from Vitis vinifera vineyards in the southeastern United States and surveyed mycotoxins in red wine. Bolton also holds a master’s degree in Food Science from the University of Georgia and a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Wake Forest University.
As part of her work with the American Wine Society (AWS), the AWS Educational Foundation awarded Bolton two scholarships for graduate studies. She has also worked at Gordon Brothers Cellars in Washington State and spent time in Tuscany educating American university students on viticulture and enology practices as part of a study abroad program.
“I am so excited about my new position with the Lodi Winegrape Commission,” says Bolton. “It’s thrilling to work with an acclaimed wine region where the growers work closely together, where there exists a true community spirit and where sustainability is regarded as an ethical and scientific pursuit before a marketing objective.”
According to Lodi Winegrape Commission Board Chair, Galen Schmiedt, “Stephanie is a valuable addition to the Lodi team. She brings an extensive knowledge of grape growing along with a strong background in sustainability initiatives. Her valuable connections within the academic and research communities will continue to position Lodi as an innovator in the viticulture and enological world.”
Message from Stephanie:
I am very excited and happy to be the Lodi Winegrape Commission’s newest staff member, taking Matthew Hoffman’s former position. This full-time role helps lead the Research, Education, & Communication as well as the Lodi Rules Committees, and actively supports the ever-changing needs of our grower community. My background involves working with grape growers and researching wines in the southeastern U.S., which (as some of you who have been to southeastern vineyards know) happened to be the perfect place to learn about grapevine pests and diseases for a recent doctorate in Plant Pathology!
I love Lodi already, thanks to the warm welcome I’ve received from the LWC staff, our Board, and members of the grower community – in just the last few weeks, I’ve already been on top of the first Lodi-made mechanical harvester sorting grapes with Ben Kolber, had lengthy conversations with Cliff Ohmart about the progression of the grower workbook, seen colossal redwood tanks on a tour hosted by Joe Valente, watched Paul Verdegaal and Charlie Starr dig up a grapevine to solve a disease mystery, ridden in the prized passenger seat of Larry Whitted’s car to learn about mealybugs, enjoyed a sunrise harvest and ancient grapevine tour with Randy Caparoso, listened to Aaron Lange and Kevin Phillips explain the history of Lodi winegrapes to 300 bloggers, asked Stuart Spencer how people in Lodi are connected on a daily basis, enjoyed a delicious picnic underneath an oak tree at Bokisch, toured our diverse soil types with the knowledgeable Stan Grant, visited a cover crop seed factory and ate at the infamous Guisti’s with Charlie Hamilton, and watched deep ripping in action with Brad Goehring.
There definitely is something special about Lodi and I plan on being part of the Lodi Winegrape Commission for many years to come!
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