Signature Sonoma Valley is this weekend and to get a behind-the-scenes look at this hot new event, here’s a Q & A with chief organizer Maureen L. Cottingham, executive director of the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance.

Q&A

1) Why did you decide to create this independent event, changing course from your past partnership with the Sonoma County Vintners on the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend string of events?

Cottingham: “We know from working with our members that many of their relationships and sales come from their Direct To Consumer programs, which is why bringing wine collectors to the region is very important. We developed Signature Sonoma Valley as the signature event that will draw wine collectors and enthusiasts to Sonoma Valley for a focused, world-class wine centric experience. The event will provide a platform in which we can bring media and trade to the region as well. Our partnership with Sonoma Wine Country Weekend ends after 2019. By 2020, Signature Sonoma Valley will be a mature event and being produced at a very high level!”

2) What is the ultimate goal of this new, focused event?

Cottingham: “The objective of the two-day wine focused event is to reinforce Sonoma Valley’s position as a world class wine region and showcase the innovative winegrowing and winemaking practices that are leading this region today.”

3) What are some of the behind-the-scene benefits people will get when they go?

Cottingham: “Guests will be joining our community of vintners and growers, sharing our passion for incredible wine while enjoying the relaxed and inviting lifestyle of the Sonoma Valley region.”

4) Do you have fundraising goals in mind?

Cottingham: “Not immediately, as we build the event over the years, any revenues will be dedicated to building the promotional and marketing programs of Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance. We are still very committed to charitable giving however through our production of Sonoma Wine Country Weekend and work through the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Grant Allocation committee.”

5) What is the Sonoma Valley “story” you want to tell with this event? What is it that people may not realize about your unique part of the county?

Cottingham: “Signature Sonoma Valley is like no other wine event, an intimate and exclusive deep dive into the wines, terroir and people of Sonoma Valley’s historic wine region. Guests are invited into the vineyards and cellars of some of California’s most iconic winemakers, cutting-edge innovators and multi-generational winegrowers.

A unique element is that the Sonoma Valley region encompasses 5 distinct AVA’s and allows for much diversity all within a 17 mile stretch! Bennett Valley, Carneros, Moon Mountain District, Sonoma Mountain and Sonoma Valley.”

6) What’s the back story on who created this event?

Signature Sonoma Valley was developed by our staff, board of directors and vintners and growers on the marketing committee. We are honored to launch this new event that is being supported by so many of our key stakeholders. We are also grateful for a group of growers/vintners and American AgCredit for becoming part of the Founder’s Circle and contributing financially to this inaugural year!

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Here’s a quick recap: Signature Sonoma Valley, this Friday & Saturday

This is a new event to showcase Sonoma Valley, organized by the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance. Thirty-eight vintners and growers will be highlighted and guests will have the chance to meet iconic winemakers, cutting-edge innovators and multi-generational winegrowers. On Saturday ticket holders get a “behind the vines” tour of an iconic vineyard property before meeting at Beltane Ranch for a farm lunch. (www.sonomavalleywine.com)