Moments of Pride and Progress

It’s our last newsletter of the year and normally that would mean a round-up of the year’s best. But since I covered NGRA’s research accomplishments of 2019 last month, here, I thought I’d share three moments of pride or progress that help make NGRA a better organization or me a better steward of it, that may not otherwise register on a list of things we achieved.

A highlight of 2019 was NGRA’s office move. We had been at our old location across from the California State Capitol for so long that it was hard to imagine the business anywhere else. But in August, we found ourselves in brand-new digs in a locally owned co-working space called The Urban Hive. The light and energy in our new office is so different from the more traditional space we were in that it’s hard to imagine being there now!¬†We’re surrounded by creative, entrepreneurial types who, like us, come to work eager to move the needle every day. We welcome visitors, so if you’re in Sacramento, please swing by!

Also in August, I was inducted into an organization called¬†Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI). Membership in LDEI is by invitation only; there are fewer than 2,500 members worldwide, representing the fields of contemporary gastronomy, agriculture, viticulture and enology, and hospitality. Joining LDEI had been a dream of mine since I first entered the wine industry and met Dr. Louisa Hargrave, the pioneer (with her then-husband) of the Long Island, NY, wine region. Louisa was the first “Dame” I ever met, and since then, all the Dames I’ve known have been women I have greatly admired and respected, women at the top of their game, like NGRA members Dolores Cakebread, co-founder of Cakebread Cellars, and Nicole Salengo, winemaker at Beryessa Gap Vineyards. I wasn’t sure when or how I’d ever be worthy of membership, but in 2019, I was asked to join. It’s an honor for me and gives a new visibility and credibility to NGRA and my role here.

Lastly, two emails arrived just before Christmas that made my heart swell with pride. Two of the research projects NGRA supplied planning grants for in 2019 and for which pre-proposals were submitted for SCRI grants were invited to make full proposals this cycle. Of course, it’s no guarantee of funding. But it is an affirmation that we’re on the right track with our Research Fund. The relatively low cost of bringing scientists together with industry members to transform an idea into a research team and structured project brings clarity and relevance to the science, and thereby gives a competitive edge to their applications for funding. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for both projects in 2020.

I hope your own 2019 was filled with shining moments and that 2020 promises many successes, too–particularly as they relate to advancing the wine and grape industry through science!

Happy New Year!