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Officers & Staff

Family Winemakers of California members elect a chair and vice chair every year from among regular members who have served on the board. These officers oversee the operations of the association and can be elected for only two consecutive terms. The secretary and treasurer are appointed from within the board.

Joseph Harbison
Chair
Wendy Brooks
Vice Chair
Scot Covington
Secretary/Treasurer
Paul Kronenberg
President
Kathy Spallas
Membership & Program Mgr
Email Joe Email Wendy Email Scot Email Paul Email Kathy

 

Lobbyists

Political Solutions | Stacy Dwelley | Kristen Beard-King | Tami Miller | Margo Parks

Who We Are

Family Winemakers of California is an “organization that reflects the ‘little guy’s’ point of view.” With nearly 3,800 licensed wineries in California someone needs to be the actual voice for small, family wineries in the fight for more access to markets, protecting individual freedom from government over-regulation, and fostering aspirations to make the best wine.

Our beginnings are humble. Family Winemakers was founded in 1990 after the wine market order extension was voted down in a true grassroots campaign. Industry growth and public policy on a myriad of issues begged for input from small producers. One man, one vote is the bedrock principle behind Family Winemakers that guides our views on legislation, regulation, litigation and business practices.

We’ve spent 24 years and counting working to loosen up the post-Prohibition restrictions in California law and broaden access to domestic markets. We are affiliated with WineAmerica to establish a channel for input on national issues and generate unity among small producers and growers across the United States.

Great wine needs a market. “Free Trade for Small Wineries in U.S. Markets” was a discussion paper generated by the founders that said, “The most important and in fact the only important reason for small wineries under 100 tons to join [FWC] would be to work for the right to market directly to end users thereby by-passing the 3-tier system.”


Direct-to-consumer wine sales by wineries has been one of the main public policy issues embraced by the association. It led to Family Winemakers intense involvement in direct shipping litigation that resulted in the landmark Granholm decision in 2005. From a limited market of 13 reciprocal states, consumer choice has now been expanded to 40 states and the District of Columbia.

Family Winemakers has pursued legislation over the years to create numerous sales channels for small producers that has resulted in wine being sold at certified farmers’ markets, at fairs and festivals, and through order taking at thousands of non-profit wine tastings. And FWC has said no repeatedly to state excise take increases, new fees and laws that would overly hamper business operations.

Mission

Family Winemakers of California advocates the rights and interests of its members to freely produce, market and sell their products, and is dedicated to preserving the diversity of California wine. 

In fulfilling its mission, the association has sponsored legislation in the past 16 years to expand the ability of wineries, particularly small producers, to compete in the marketplace. Additionally, FWC has taken a leadership role in pushing and funding the litigation strategy to open up domestic markets for direct-to-consumer wine sales. That investment resulted in the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned discriminatory laws in Michigan and New York (Granholm v. Heald). FWC followed up with a four-year case against Massachusetts and its discriminatory production cap law, which resulted in the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal sustaining our view.

 
 
 

Family Winemakers of California
520 Capitol Mall, #260
Sacramento, CA 95814
info@familywinemakers.org
Ph: (916) 498-7500 Fax: (916) 498-7505

Directors

Justin Baldwin, Justin Vineyards & Winery
Bob Balentine, Line Shack Winery
Bo Barrett, Chateau Montelena Winery
Jeffrey Blair, Blair Wines
Michael Blaylock, Quady Winery
Greg Boeger, Boeger Winery
Mike Brown, Cantara Cellars
Steven Brutocao, Brutocao Vineyards & Cellars
Paul Bush, Madrona Vineyards
Deborah Cahn, Navarro Vineyards
Debra Dommen, Treasury Wine Estates
Gary Eberle, Eberle Winery
Skip Granger, Starry Night Winery
Jim Gullett, Vino Noceto
Joe Travis Hart, Hart Winery
Scott Harvey, Scott Harvey Wines
Tom Hinde, Prospect Brands
Chris Howell, Cain Vineyards & Winery
Josh Jensen, Calera Wine Company
Peter Larson, Trinchero Family Estate
Bruce Lundquist, Rb Wine Associates
Regina Martinelli, Martinelli Winery
Carole Meredith, Lagier Meredith Vineyard
Anne Moller-Racke, The Donum Estate
Jon Phillips, Inspiration Vineyards & Winery
David Ramey, Ramey Wine Cellars
Jean Arnold Sessions, Hanzell Winery
Stephenie Shah, Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines
Shahin Shahabi, Smith-Anderson Wine Group
Robert Sobon, Sobon Estate
W. Clarke Swanson, Swanson Vineyards & Winery
Nils Venge, Saddleback Cellars
Michael Walker, Constellation Brands
Carolyn Wasem, Jackson Family Wines