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2019 Hall of Fame

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Ben Drake, Drake Enterprises

Temecula Valley vintners were proud to introduce the latest Hall of Fame inductee at the 36th Annual Grape Day conference held on April 18, 2019 at South Coast Winery in Temecula, California. The inductee honored was the late Ben R. Drake, owner of Drake Enterprises, Inc., a Temecula-based farm management company, and a long-time board member of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association.

The Temecula Valley Winegrowers Hall of Fame was introduced in 2016 by Phil Baily, owner of Baily Winery and current President of the Board for the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association (TVWA). The first inductees into the Hall of Fame were Vince & Audrey Cilurzo and John Moramarco. At the time, Baily noted “The recent passing of wine country pioneer Vince Cilurzo prompted the TVWA Board of Directors to consider ways we could honor his memory. In discussing this, we realized that other pioneers should be recognized, most notably Audrey Cilurzo, because Vince and Audrey partnered in their accomplishments. John Moramarco was unquestionably the key leader of our rise in the 1960s and for the following thirty-plus years.”

Since that time, the association’s Board of Directors has inducted the late John Poole and his son, Peter Poole, who founded and operated Mount Palomar Winery for over two decades, as well as Ely Callaway, founder of Callaway Vineyard & Winery and of Callaway Golf fame. 

“This year’s Hall of Fame inductee was similarly accomplished and very well respected within Temecula Valley’s wine community and we’re very appreciative of his effort on behalf of all of us,” stated Phil Baily.  Ben’s long service as a member and Chairman of the California Association of Winegrape Growers, and his service as a state-wide leader in the fight against Pierce’s Disease brought recognition and respect to our Valley.  To many in our industry, Ben was Temecula.  He was one of the three or four key players who did the most to grow the reputation of the Temecula Valley Wine Country.”

Ben was a fifth-generation farmer in Riverside County and a resident of Temecula since 1973. Ben founded Drake Enterprises, Inc., 40 years ago. They currently manage 750 acres of avocados and 450 acres of winegrapes in the Temecula Valley.  Ben passed away this past November.   

Ben accomplished much in his professional career, including being a long-time Board member and President of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association, President of the Rancho California Water District Board of Directors, Past Chairman of California Association of Winegrape Growers and Past President of Riverside County Farm Bureau, just to name a few.

When asked about Ben’s contributions to Temecula’s thriving wine region, the TVWA’s Executive Director, Krista Chaich said, “It’s hard to know where to start when talking about Ben’s contributions to the success of Temecula Valley Wine Country. He was a tremendous leader and an ardent supporter of our wine region. Most notably, his leadership and guidance were never more apparent than when our winegrape growers were faced with the devastating loss of vineyards due to Pierce’s Disease, a bacterial infection that nearly wiped out our wine country. Ben called upon the State of California to assist in the fight against Pierce’s Disease through significant funding and helped to set up task forces and treatment and research programs. Many of us believe that had it not been for Ben’s efforts, our wine country wouldn’t be the thriving and award-winning wine region that it is today.”

“Ben served on our Board of Directors for several years and as the Board President from 2014 through 2016. During this time, he fiercely protected both our winery owners and wine grape growers and consistently put the best interests of our entire wine region first.  Ben is missed tremendously, and this recognition is well deserved.”

Ben’s wife, Sharon, his daughters Katie and Courtney, his son-in-law JD Harkey, his three grandsons and his long-time assistant, Kathleen were on hand to accept the award on Ben’s behalf. 

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Tickets Still Available for Grape Day 2013

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Temecula Valley Wine Country to Host 30th Annual Grape Day Conference

Purchase tickets here!

One-day conference unites winegrowers, vintners and educators from Temecula Valley and beyond to share insights on best practices for growing, making and selling fine wine

The Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association (TVWA) will host its annual Grape Day conference on Thursday, April 18 at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, inviting aspiring and current winegrowers, vintners and the wine-curious to a full day of education and insights about the world of winemaking. Open to the public, Grape Day routinely draws attendees from throughout Southern California and beyond, bringing wine professionals and newcomers together in a shared effort to continually improve the growing, production and marketing of fine wine.

Highlights from the 2013 Grape Day conference agenda include the following presentations:

Wine Sensory and Olfactory Education, with Alexandre Schmitt, Wine & Flavors SARL.

Schmitt studied his craft at the Institut Supérieur International du Parfum in Versailles. Guided by iconic winemaker Jean-Claude Berrouet, technical director of Château Pétrus, he created the global consulting practice, Wines & Flavors.

Managing Vine Balance, with S. Kaan Kurtural, PhD; Department of Viticulture and Enology, California State University, Fresno. Dr. Kurtural joined the faculty at Department of Viticulture and Enology in 2008. Previously, he was appointed as the Senior Viticulture Extension Specialist at the Department of Horticulture at the University of Lexington Kentucky.

Regional Marketing, with Camron King; Executive Director, Lodi Winegrape Growers Association. King was vice president of state government relations at the California Association of Winegrape Growers for eight years prior to being named Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission in 2012.

The largest and most commercially successful region in the South Coast AVA, the viticultural zone spanning more than 2 million acres from Riverside County to the San Diego border, the Temecula Valley has long served as a steward of the Southern California wine community. Founded in 1983 as a way to help Temecula Valley’s nascent winegrowing community improve its knowledge of viticulture, Grape Day has since evolved into the region’s premier wine industry conference, introducing the latest research, methods and technology, and encouraging a collaborative spirit and dialogue within its membership and the broader California wine industry.

“Since 1983, Grape Day has contributed to the continued success of the Temecula AVA. Every spring, we look forward to sharing best practices, knowledge and experience with the unified grape-growing community here in Southern California,” says TVWA Viticulture Chair Ben Drake of Drake Enterprises, Inc. Ben was recently recognized by the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) as the 2013 CAWG Leader of the Year.

Grape Day tickets are $65 for TVWA members, $85 for non-members and can be purchased online at TemeculaWines.org (click on Events) or by phone at (800) 801-9463. Conference includes continental breakfast, buffet lunch and wine and cheese evening reception.

About the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association

Comprising 35 wineries and more than 60 winegrowers, the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association is a nonprofit regional organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the quality wines and wine grapes grown in the Temecula Valley and South Coast Appellations. Established in 1984, the Temecula AVA consists of 33,000 acres, of which approximately 1,300 acres are currently planted to commercial vineyards. Known as Southern California’s wine country, the Temecula Valley is located in Riverside County just one hour from San Diego, Orange County and Palm Springs.

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Last Day for Grape Day, April 21

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Keyways Vineyard & Winery; Thursday, April 21, 7:30am- 6pm

Grape Day is a one day conference featuring in-depth seminars on the latest advances and developments in viticulture and vineyard management. Winemakers, winery owners, vineyard managers, and anyone who is interested in the business of wine can attend this great event!

Purchase TICKETS here

See agenda below…

 

 

 

 

Agenda

7:30 – 8am  Vendor Exhibits, Registration, Continental Breakfast- Sponsored by Riverside Agricultural Supplies

8 – 8:15am  WelcomeJeff Wiens; Wiens Family Cellars, TVWA President, Ben Drake; Drake Enterprise, TVWA Viticulture Chair

8:15 – 8:30am  Temecula Area-Wide GWSS ProjectDr. Nick Toscano; Extension Specialist, Emeritus, College of Natural and Agricultural  Sciences, University of Riverside

8:30 – 9am  The Effectiveness of Within-Vineyard Sharpshooter Control for Limiting PD Spread Dr. Matthew Daugherty; Assistant Extension Specialist, UC Riverside

9 – 9:45am  Preventing Establishment of European Grapevine Moth Through Early Detection Dr. Walt Bentley; UC IPM Entomologist, UC Kearney Agricultural Center, Fresno County

9:45 – 10:30am  Designing a Cover Crop System for your Vineyard:  A Landscape Approach Dr. Glenn McGourty; Viticulture and Plant Science Advisor, UC Cooperative; Extension, Mendocino and Lake Counties

10:30 – 10:45am  Break, Vendor Exhibits

10:45 – 11:30am  Hang Time and Crop Forcing- Dr. Sanliang Gu; Professor of Viticulture and Ricchiuti Chair of Viticulture Research Fresno State University

11:30am – 12:15pm  State of the Wine IndustryPatrick Comiskey; Senior Correspondent, Wine & Spirits Magazine

12:15pm – 1pm  Lunch, Vendor ExhibitsSponsored by Labeltronix

1 – 1:45pm  Update on Powdery Mildew- Dr. Doug Gubler; Plant Pathology Department, UC Davis

1:45 – 2:30pm  Marketing and Social MediaPaul Mabray; Founder, VinTank – A Wine Industry Think Tank

2:30 – 2:45pm  Break, Vendor Exhibits

2:45 – 4:15pm  Finishing TanninsJose Santos; Business Director, Enartis Vinquiry

4:15 – 6pm Wine & Cheese Reception- Sponsored by Crop Production Services

Participating Vendors

AWC Packaging, American AgCredit, California Glass, Chart/Cryotech Intl., Duarte Nursery, Electrostatic Spraying Systems, Enartis Vinquiry, Guillaume Grapevine NurseryMicroworks Wine Software, NuEarth, PBM Supply & Mfg., Precision Agri-Lab, Pro Refrigeration, Inc. Riverside Agricultural Supplies, Soil Topography Information, Sunridge Nurseries, SunWize Technologies,Tonnellerie Radoux USA, Inc., Vineyard Industry Products, Vyant/Marfred Industries, WineWare Software Corp.

Thank you to the following sponsors:
Crop Production Services, Riverside, CA, Labeltronix, Orange, CA, Riverside Agricultural Supplies, Ontario, CA, My VIP Events, Canyon Lake, CA.



 

Dr. Doug Gubler
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