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To the editor, It was wonderful to see the excitement at the polls. While people were out voting in the midterms, local winery owners were also voting on our new board and officers for 2019.

I have been most appreciative of the opportunity to serve as president of the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley for the past two years. And it’s been especially rewarding to work alongside our officers and board members: Kim Engelhardt (Lion Ranch), Tim Slater (Sarah’s Vineyards), Jeff Fadness (La Vie Dansante), Gino Fortino (Fortino Winery), Janu Goelz (Alara Cellars) and Michael Sampognaro (Morgan Hill Cellars).

But it’s now time to step down to allow others in our winery community the same opportunity. Our president and board represent our winery members to the public and the press. And the past two years have been extraordinary. I met many residents of our local towns who I may not have met otherwise—some of whom have become dear friends—and I am sincerely grateful.

Our winery association made great strides in generating awareness of our great valley. We attended meetings of several other local organizations to both share our direction and learn how we can better partner with one another, such as Visit Gilroy, the Morgan Hill and Gilroy Downtown Business Associations and Chambers of Commerce, San Martin Chamber of Commerce, Gilroy Rotary, Gilroy Education Foundation, Poppy Jasper International Film Festival and Santa Clara Wine Auction, to name only a few.

We worked with Santa Clara County to expand the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail, negotiated contracts with suppliers and vendors to install new signs throughout the region. We also hired our first employee, Stacy Barrett-Giannini, as our director of marketing. With Stacy’s expertise and dedication, the awareness of this beautiful region will continue to grow.

Congratulations to our newly elected officers and board who will represent us in 2019.  I graciously pass the baton to our new president, Geoff Mace, owner of Calerrain Winery. Others elected are Gena Guglielmo (Guglielmo Winery), Bill Heller (Heller Winery), Julie Vanni (Solis Winery), and continuing for another year are Janu, Gino, and Michael. I will also continue on the board for another year as president emeritus.

Please reach out to all of our board members with your congratulations and support. Geoff will put his own mark on the role of presidency and our winery association. My wish for him is that his experience proves to be as remarkable as mine over the past two years. See you at Seeker Vineyard and around town.

Karen Seeker

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