Calistoga Winegrowers association announced last week a change in leadership. Tom Eddy stepped down as president of the trade association group after a three-year stint and co-presidents Larry Arnoff and Seth Gersch will serve the next term.
Both Arnoff and Gersch are winery owners and have been active in the Calistoga Winegrowers (CWG) association for some time, with Arnoff serving as vice president most recently, and both serving on the marketing committee, which oversees the group’s events and other branding activities.
Arnoff and his wife, Eileen, own Jack Brooks Vineyard named for their fathers: Jack Arnoff and “Brooks” Ghilarducci. Their boutique winery is the smallest producer of wine in the CWG membership, selling only direct-to-consumer and to special restaurants and stores making it one of the most difficult to find premium cabernet sauvignon wines produced in Calistoga.
Larry Arnoff is a volunteer for SCORE, which is a not-for-profit organization that counsels small to mid-size businesses and start-ups, using his technology and marketing expertise to help others. Prior to owning a winery and volunteering with SCORE, Arnoff was an executive who directed IT strategy for companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Specialty Foods Net, and he was an associate partner with Accenture.
Larry and Eileen’s vision for Jack Brooks Vineyard is to remain a small boutique wine producer and sell their wines to people who will enjoy drinking it as much as they do.
Gersch’s Hindsight Vineyards produces chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah and a red blend. The winery project is a labor of love between five owners who seek to make “world-class, yet reasonably priced wines.”
Gersch has an extensive background as an executive and director with several prominent financial companies including Global Indemnity, Paradigm, Fox Paine & Company, ThinkEquity Partners, Banc of America Broker Dealer Services, and more.
He also served from 2000 to 2016 on the Board of Directors of the 49ers Foundation, the charity arm of the San Francisco 49ers Football organization, and was known for his cell phone ringtone as the NFL theme music.
Gersh and his wife, Alisa, have a passion for classic cars, and Seth is a member of the Operating Committee of the Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance, the longest continuously running Concours in the world.
Gersch and Arnoff will oversee the growth of CWG that is expanding its brand and reach to draw more attention to the wineries in Calistoga. In 2017 the group held a trade and consumer wine tasting in San Francisco at the Presidio called Calistoga Uncorked where attendees could taste and purchase wine, an unusual combination that benefitted participating wineries that were able to sell cases or individual bottles onsite.
CWG intends to hold Calistoga Uncorked again in 2018 in San Francisco, dates are to be determined. The group is also working on its annual collaboration with Solage for the 2018 Calistoga Food and Wine event that celebrates local food and wine, and CWG is planning to hold its Calistoga Wine Experience, that has been held in Pioneer Park the same weekend as Harvest Table the past two years, but is toying with the idea of selecting a different weekend, Arnoff and Gersch said. They also are working on a date for the Winemakers Roundtable that in its first year received high praise for the fun educational and tasting event held at T-Vine in September.
CWG is a nonprofit membership of wineries and vineyards located in the Calistoga AVA. CWG’s mission is to promote and protect the past, present and future of grape growing and winemaking in the Calistoga AVA. The AVA was approved in 2009 and became official in 2010 though it has always been considered a unique wine grape growing location, with viticulture and winery census data dating to 1880 listing Calistoga as a distinct region separate from Napa. Rich volcanic bedrock and sediment provide a geologic uniformity, while the AVA’s diverse topography ranges from steep mountains to valley floor making Calistoga entirely unique to other Napa Valley AVAs.