SONOMA, CA (March 1, 2021) – The Sonoma Valley Winemakers and Producers Alliance Board of Directors announced Friday that Executive Director Maureen Cottingham is stepping down after nearly seventeen years at the helm of the Valley Wine Marketing Organization. Cottingham will take on a new leadership role, leading the multi-generational family business and continuing his commitment to California agriculture. She leaves behind an organization that has had a significant and positive impact on the Sonoma Valley region. She plans to work closely with the Board of Directors on the transition and search for her successor before she retires in April 2021.

Maureen’s passing, while extraordinary for her family and the succession plan for her family ranch, is a great loss to our community and to the SVVGA, said Prema Behan, SVVGA Board President and co-founder of Three Sticks Wines. We are sincerely grateful for his courage, unwavering commitment and service to producers, winemakers and the community. Her achievements are numerous and over the years she has worked tirelessly for the upliftment and unification of our wine-growing regions. We look forward to continuing the growth and partnerships that Maureen has worked so passionately for. Maureen, her energy, professionalism and great attitude will be missed and we wish her all the best in her new role continuing her family’s agricultural legacy.

Under Cottingham’s leadership, the Sonoma Valley Winemakers and Growers Alliance has achieved many successes, including raising more than $25 million for educational programs for children and nonprofit organizations in the Sonoma Valley and throughout Sonoma County through the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend and the Sonoma Wine Harvest Auction. The organization provided emergency assistance and support to the winemaking community during the Sonoma County fires, ASAP events and the recent global pandemic. Cottingham successfully launched The Roots Run Deep brand campaign for Sonoma Valley wines with legendary winemakers and producers in the valley, and received the largest grant the trade organization has ever received, a California Specialty Crop Block Grant. In addition, Cottingham restructured the organization’s membership and finances and developed the first-ever series of vineyard maps under the guidance of legendary Vinous critic and founder Antonio Galloni and world-renowned cartographer Alessandro Masnagetti. For the first time, Cottingham created the Signature Sonoma Valley wine lifestyle event, now in its third year. This is a four-day event that allows wine consumers to dive deeper into Sonoma Valley vineyards and appreciate the quality of Sonoma Valley wines.

I am deeply indebted to everyone who has supported the organization and our initiatives over the years, Mr. Cottingham said, and I am honored to be able to pass on our family’s agricultural traditions to the next generation. My passion for the Sonoma Valley and its winegrowers and vintners will always be strong, and while this is a bittersweet transition, I look forward to continuing to do this important work and defend California’s agricultural heritage.

The board will seek a replacement in Cottingham. Questions about the position should be directed to Maureen Cottingham, who can be reached at [email protected].

ABOUT SVVGA

The Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance (SVVGA) is a non-profit organization with more than 500 members whose purpose is to promote knowledge of grapes, wine and the history of Sonoma Valley as the birthplace of the California wine industry. The Sonoma Valley comprises six of the eighteen American Wine Growing Areas (AVAs) in Sonoma County : Bennett Valley, Los Carneros, Moon Mountain area, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Mountain and Sonoma Valley. For more information on the SVVGA, visit http://www.SonomaValleyWine.com or call 707-935-0803.

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