New Officers and Board Directors Elected for 2020

New Board Directors Elected at Annual Meeting

SACRAMENTO, CA, February 24, 2020 – The National Grape Research Alliance (NGRA) held its Annual Meeting of Members and First-of-Year Board Meeting on February 3, 2020, where new officers and Board directors were elected.

The following Board directors were elected as officers of NGRA, each serving a one-year, renewable term and shown left to right above:

  • Chairman: Russell (Russ) Smithyman, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Washington
    Russ earned his Ph.D. in horticulture from Washington State University, and his M.S. in horticulture from Michigan State University. He currently is the Director of Viticulture for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in Prosser, WA. Prior to this, he served as Director of Research at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.
    Russ succeeds Tony Stephen, American Vineyard Foundation.
  • Vice Chair: Allison Jordan, Wine Institute, California
    Allison is Executive Director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and Vice President, Environmental Affairs, for Wine Institute. She holds a Master of Public Policy from the Goldman School at UC Berkeley and B.A. in Psychology from Allegheny College. Allison and her husband are founders of Giordano Bros., a San Francisco restaurant group.
    Allison succeeds Tom Smith, E. & J. Gallo Winery.
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Dan Martinez, Martinez Orchards, California
    Dan is Vice President of Martinez Orchards and co-owner and CFO of Berryessa Gap Vineyards. Dan graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, with a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering. He also serves on the California Grapevine Improvement Advisory Board and is a former mayor of Winters, CA, where the family businesses are based.
    Dan was re-elected for a fifth term.
  • Past Chair: Tony Stephen, American Vineyard Foundation, California
    Tony serves as Chairman of the Board of NGRA member the American Vineyard Foundation and is Chief Sales Officer at Scheid Family Wines in Monterey, CA. He holds a Bachelor of Science in viticulture from UC Davis. Tony and his wife, Nancy Walker, are proprietors of Stephen & Walker Winery, based in Healdsburg.
    Tony succeeds John Aguirre, California Association of Winegrape Growers.

The NGRA Board of Directors is comprised of 28 Commodity Sector, Regional and At-Large Representatives from across the U.S., each serving three-year terms. Eight either renewed their three-year terms or were newly installed at the First-of-Year Board Meeting, as follows:

Commodity Sector Representatives

  • Table Grapes: Franka Gabler, California Table Grape Commission, re-elected
  • Wine Grapes: Rich Schaefers, Silverado Investment Management Co., California, newly elected, succeeding Jerry Lohr, J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines, California

Regional Representatives

  • California: Keith Striegler, E. & J. Gallo Winery, California, newly elected, succeeding Tom Smith, also of E. & J. Gallo Winery
  • Northwest: Russ Smithyman, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, re-elected

At-Large Representatives

  • John Aguirre, California Association of Winegrape Growers, re-elected
  • Allison Jordan, Wine Institute, re-elected
  • Anji Perry, J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines, re-elected
  • Tony Stephen, American Vineyard Foundation, re-elected

Click here to view the full list of NGRA officers, Board members and staff.


In 2005, the National Grape Research Alliance (NGRA) was organized to drive research to strengthen the productivity, sustainability and competitiveness of America’s grape industries. The group unites all grape sectors including raisin, juice, table and wine grapes together with researchers and grant funders in a unique collaborative effort that focuses on game-changing, national-level research. For more information, visit