The MWI does not have any ties to the former Mendocino County Wine & Winegrape Commission ("the Commission"). However, we often receive questions about the history and fate of the Commission.
The Commission was created in 2005 by vote of the growers and vintners of the county. The Commission was funded by a legally-binding assessment on the sale of all grapes grown in the County. In May of 2012 a referendum was held to determine if the Commission should be renewed for an additional term. The Commission did not received the votes necessary for renewal. Operations of the group ceased in July of 2012 and the assessment on grape sales was ended.
A copy of 6/6/12 press release contains additional details:
Mendocino Winegrape and Wine Commission Ends Five-Year Run
June 6, 2012 — Ukiah, CA— By majority vote of the grape growers, the Mendocino Winegrape and Wine Commission (MWWC) will not be renewed for a second five –year term.
On Wednesday, February 1st, at the Ukiah Valley Conference Center, Glenn Yost of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) heard testimony on the production, economic and marketing conditions of the last five years affecting the Mendocino County winegrape and wine industry, and the effect the continuation of the Commission would have upon those conditions and whether the Commission attains the objectives for which it was established; effectuates its declared provisions; and furthers the interest of the State of California. After hearing testimony, Yost declared that the continuance of the Commission would be decided by a referendum vote.
274 producers and 72 vintners were sent ballots from the CDFA on April 25th and were due back to the CDFA, postmarked by May 25th, 2012. Of the ballots sent, 66.42% of producers and 81.94% of vintners participated in the election by returning their votes. According to the CDFA, 45.05% of producers voted in favor and 54.95% opposed. In contrary, 67.80% of vintners voted in favor of continuation while only 32.20% opposed. Based on the uniqueness of the Mendocino Winegrape and Wine Commission Law, a majority vote by both groups would have needed to vote in favor of the Commission.
“We want to thank the constituency for the opportunity to market the quality grapes and award-winning wines of Mendocino County over this past year.” We have made huge strides and are sad to see that it was not enough to overcome the hardship the Commission has had over the last five years” “Mendocino County is such a unique and diverse region and I hope that it can continue to grow and gain a healthy market share in the wine industry.” “The past five years have been challenging for the Commission and many of us have put our hearts and souls into trying to create a unique position for a vintner and grower Commission” said Alex MacGregor, Chairman of MWWC. “We are saddened to see the Commission go and wish the community the best of luck in the future.”
MWWC, which is was the only producer and vintner Commission in California, was voted in by a constituency of Mendocino County grape growers and vintners in 2005. It was shown that the production of winegrapes, wine, and winegrape products in Mendocino County had the potential to be one of the leading segments of the state's winegrape and wine industries. To realize this potential, there was a need to make consumers aware of the high quality of winegrapes, wine, and winegrape products produced in Mendocino County. The activities made possible by the establishment of the Commission are intended to meet this need and further the interests of the industries and the state.
The Mendocino Winegrape & Wine Commission (MWWC) was an alliance of 98 wineries and 273 grape growers in Mendocino County. MWWC mission was to promote and market the winegrapes and wines of Mendocino. The organization sponsored education and research supporting sustainable viticulture techniques for growing premium grapes in Mendocino’s 12 diverse regions. www.mendowine.com
The Commission will begin wind-down procedures to be completed over the next three to four months.
Megan Metz Alex MacGregor
MWWC Executive Director Chairman of MWWC