A Big Quiet Moment

Despite the frigid temperatures in some parts of the country, January came in hot for NGRA. So much happened this month of 2024! From the annual meeting of a flagship NGRA research project, VitisGen3, to our First-of-Year Board meeting, from our first-ever booth at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium (booth graphics sponsored by Wonderful Nurseries), to the presentation of the Rich Smith Award of Excellence (see photo above and story below), and meetings and dinners in between, NGRA sustained an unprecedented level of activities and initiatives in four and a half rapid-fire weeks.

Through all the busy-ness of the month, one of the quieter moments stands out. At our Annual Meeting of the Members, held in conjunction with our First-of-Year Board meeting on January 22, 2024, we elected (or re-elected) our four officers and seven Board Directors, four of whom are brand-new to our Board:

All were re-elected for another one-year term.

  • Chair: Jessica Youngblood
  • Vice Chair: Rich Schaefers
  • Secretary: Emily Hodson
  • Treasurer: Dan Martinez

Board Directors
These seven Directors were either elected newly or re-elected for a three-year term.

  • At-Large Representative: Nick Dokoozlian, E. & J. Gallo Winery (Renewing)
  • At-Large Representative: Dan Martinez, Martinez Orchards (Renewing)
  • At-Large Representative: Jennifer Montgomery, Arizona Wine Growers Association (Renewing)
  • At-Large Representative: Jason Saling, Rodney Strong Wine Estates (New)
  • Native/Hybrid Species Representative: Dennis Rak, Double A Vineyards (New)
  • Rootstock/Nursery Representative: Dustin Hooper, Sunridge Nurseries (New)
  • Vinifera Species Representative: Andrew Zaninovich, Sunview Vineyards (New)

The election is a routine element of our Annual Meeting; it takes 10 minutes or less on the agenda each year. But it’s critically important to the work we do.

NGRA has a 30-member-maximum Board of Directors. They and our officers (drawn from the Board) are the lifeblood of our organization. They provide oversight, set strategic direction and ensure that NGRA has the resources we need to carry out our research mission. They serve on and/or chair NGRA committees, act as advisors and collaborators for research projects, and travel to our Board meetings and events all across the country. Whether they’ve served on our Board for decades or are just beginning their first terms, every one of them is helping to advance the sustainability, profitability and competitiveness of the grape and wine industry.

Please join me in thanking all our NGRA leaders for their service—and not just through a frenetic January. I (and the industry at large) am indebted to them for their extraordinary efforts to move the needle on grape research.

Donnell Brown