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Sunday, August 28, 2016

08/29/2016 - California Wine Month

September is around the corner and Slow Living Radio celebrates the vintners, wines and winemakers of California for California Wine Month.  We welcome Nancy Light of the Wine Institute and Kathleen Heitz Meyers of Heitz Wines to bring us the details on the month and an insight into the extraordinary wines of this vast and diverse region.

California Wine Month

SAN FRANCISCO—September is the time when California’s wine grape harvest is in full swing. Visitors can experience the excitement of harvest during California Wine Month in September with more than 50 winery events and immersion experiences—from wine festivals and winemaking classes to winemaker dinners, VIP tastings and tours happening around the state.

This September marks the 12th annual California Wine Month, created by Wine Institute to honor America’s top wine-producing state. “The celebration recognizes the contributions of vintners and growers to our state economy, culture and lifestyle,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute. “With an economic contribution of $57.6 billion annually to the state economy and $114.1 billion annually to the U.S. economy, California wine is an important economic engine for our state and our nation. Our scenic wine regions draw visitors worldwide to enjoy California’s great wine, cuisine and attractions.”

Here’s a complete listing by region of all the events. Visit to view events by date and order a map of California wine regions and their 138 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). For great California wine and food road trip ideas click here.

Nancy A. Light,
President of Communications

Nancy A. Light is Vice President of Communications for the Wine Institute, a trade association of 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses dedicated to enhancing the environment for the responsible consumption, production and enjoyment of wine.  With three decades of experience in strategic communications for wine and related businesses, she is responsible for guiding the organization’s media relations, member communications and issues management agenda.

Light manages several Wine Institute programs designed to support the long-term growth and vitality of the California wine industry. “California First” is an initiative to identify and communicate the positive and distinctive attributes of California wine to consumers, trade, media and public officials. Working in collaboration with regional winery and grower organizations around the state, she helped create California Wine Month, a signature promotion in September that engages wineries, growers, regional associations, restaurants and retailers in showcasing California wine and is now in its tenth year.  Down to Earth Month in April is another statewide campaign that highlights the commitment of California’s growers and vintners to sustainability and green practices.

Light helped orchestrate Wine Institute’s participation in a strategic partnership with Visit California, the state travel and tourism commission, to promote California wine and food throughout the U.S. and in key international markets.   She is a Board member and frequent speaker at wine and wine tourism industry conferences.

Prior to rejoining Wine Institute in 2004, Light was Vice President of Public Relations for the Robert Mondavi Company for seven years and also ran her own PR and communications consultancy. 

Kathleen Heitz Myers
President and CEO

Years of hands-on experience in every facet of the family business inspired Kathleen Heitz Myers' deep-rooted love of winemaking. Her firsthand knowledge of every aspect of running a winery combined with a broad-based education in science, genetics and the culinary arts uniquely prepared Kathleen for her dynamic leadership role at one of Napa Valley’s most revered wineries.

The Heitz family values education, and Kathleen approached  her studies with the intent of gaining an international perspective. She began her scientific studies in Switzerland, ultimately earning a Biology degree from the University of Oregon. She also attained a lifetime teaching credential from UC Davis, and continued her education in France and Thailand with the study of cuisine.

In 1978, she returned home, eager to contribute to the Heitz Wine Cellars winemaking legacy. Her career at Heitz began in sales and marketing, where she spearheaded a program to export Heitz wines to markets around the globe. Her ability to identify innovative ideas and flawlessly execute them won her the family’s vote of confidence to lead the entire operation.

Since 1998, Kathleen has been the President and Chief Operating Officer of Heitz Wine Cellars. She has charted a highly effective course for the winery by embracing frontline business practices while continuing to preserve Heitz's commitment to quality and innovation.

Kathleen’s ability to create long-term relationships has fostered valued business connections and friendships with customers, employees and community leaders alike, a vital cornerstone of Heitz Wine Cellars’ ongoing success. Her respect for community involves her service on several boards-of-directors including past Chairman of Wine Institute, past President of Napa Valley Vintners, past President of Wine Service Co-op and the Advisory Council for the Land Trust of Napa County.

“My parents believed in the American dream of building a family business,” says Kathleen. “I think they would be amazed at the far-reaching impact of our small winery today. We hear stories from people around the world who celebrate life with Heitz wines, and we promise that we will continue to polish our legacy.”

Kathleen is married to St. Helena businessman George Myers, who is also an avid wine connoisseur and fly fisherman. They synchronize their busy schedules to travel together often as Kathleen represents Heitz Wine Cellars around the world.

About Heitz Wine Cellars

Founded in 1961, Heitz Wine Cellars is a true Napa Valley legacy: a multi-generation, successful family business that has held true to its founder’s vision for decades and continues to stand proudly in the world’s spotlight. Pioneering vintner Joe Heitz and his wife Alice shared an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit that helped usher in Napa’s modern era with his iconic, globally-celebrated wines—including Napa Valley’s first vineyard-designated Cabernet Sauvignon, the legendary Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard—and the vision that Napa Valley wines could achieve international recognition. Today, the Heitz family is steadfastly upholding the principles and unwavering commitment to quality that built a wine portfolio of enduring excellence, while thoughtfully modernizing and diversifying the business. With hands-on management of the winery and organically farmed vineyards, the Heitz family continues to offer quintessential wines, made with 100% Napa Valley fruit, that celebrate their agrarian roots and commitment to the stewardship of Napa Valley, a place they call home.

Chris Indelicato
President and CEO
Wine Institute officer

Chris Indelicato leads the third generation of family management at Delicato Family Vineyards, one of the country’s fastest growing wineries consistently recognized for its strides in product innovation and category leadership. With more than a decade of experience as President and CEO of the family-owned business and over 90 years of California winemaking and grape growing heritage, Chris oversees the winery’s strategic direction, company culture and commitment to sustainability.

Born and raised in Manteca, California where his grandfather, Gaspare Indelicato broke ground on the family’s first vineyards in 1924, Chris was not simply exposed to, but wasingrained in the art and business of making wine since day one. A child of the vines, he spent his pre-adolescent and teenage years alongside his father and uncles harvesting, crushing, bottling and even pouring behind the counter of the family’s tasting room.

"I work with my family, the most important people in the world to me, every single day. I am constantly reminded that each employee, each vendor, each grower, each consumer is also part of our family."

Chris went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles where he quickly launched his post-graduate career as a licensed Certified Public Accountant. Chris’s time in the financial field provided invaluable experience and a renewed interest in returning to the family business. Convinced there was significant opportunity yet to be tapped, Chris returned to Delicato Family Vineyards in 1994 and went to work. Initially spending time alongside his brother, Jay on the viticulture and winery operations side, Chris continued his evolution within the company as the National Accounts Manager, followed by responsibility as Chief Financial Officer. Following years of research, experience, relationship building and an unwavering passion for continuing his family legacy, Chris assumed the role as President and CEO in 2004.

Under the leadership and vision of Chris, Delicato Family Vineyards has grown to rank among the top 10 wineries in the United States in volume with an annual production exceeding 7 million cases. For the last three years, with Chris at the helm, Delicato Family Vineyards has driven the third largest amount of revenue growth in the wine industry. Named Wine Enthusiast magazine’s 2011 “American Man of the Year” for his outstanding achievement in innovation, distinctive brand positioning and big picture thinking, Chris has led the successful launch and long term, national and international success of brands like Gnarly Head, Noble Vines and Bota Box. Today, Chris is as focused as ever. With prestige brands like Black Stallion Estate Winery in Napa Valley and groundbreaking entries like Belle Ambiance, the Delicato Family Vineyards portfolio continues to outperform the competition and over deliver on meeting the needs of the modern wine consumer.

Chris proudly serves as Vice President of the Winegrowers of Napa County, as well as Secretary of The Wine Institute, the public policy advocacy association representing nearly 1,000 California wineries. Most importantly, he is the proud father of two children, son Borja and daughter Caterina. Chris and wife, Maché make their home in Napa.

The Team

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