Longtime grower Frank Leeds has been selected to receive the 2013 Napa Valley Grower of the Year award by the Napa Valley Grapegrowers. Leeds will be honored for his broad contributions to Napa Valley agriculture and the community on May 17 at the organization's 39th annual dinner at Black Stallion Winery in Napa.

Leeds is vice president and director of vineyard operations of Frog’s Leap Winery, and the managing partner of Chavez and Leeds Family Vineyard in Rutherford.

He learned his farming techniques, incorporating organic and dry farming practices, taught to him by the legendary “Uncle Roy” Chavez.

Leeds led the Napa Valley Grapegrowers to becoming an independent organization in 2004, at the end of his two-year term as president. As president and throughout his nine-year term, Leeds was instrumental in the development of programs focused on sustainability, organic farming and proactive pest exclusion and management efforts. He was a founding member and served in leadership positions on the Napa County Wine Grape Pest and Disease Control District Board from 2002 to 2010; the CDFA Pierce’s Disease/Glassy Winged Sharpshooter Board from 2001 to 2008; and the Rutherford Dust Society from 1994 to the present.

Napa Valley Grapegrowers President Jon Ruel said, “Frank is a thoughtful farmer and an outspoken advocate for organic practices. His passion reaches beyond the vineyards he works in, as evidenced by his years of service benefiting our local industry. He is a respected past president of Napa Valley Grapegrowers and we’re delighted to bestow this well-earned award on him.”

Nominations for the Napa Valley Grower of the Year come from the NVG membership and the recipient is chosen by a committee made up of past presidents of the organization and current committee members. The award criteria are a strong commitment to sustainable practices, recognized leadership in agricultural preservation, dedicated community focus, contributions to the Napa Valley community and someone who actively promotes Napa’s reputation for the highest quality vineyards.

Information on the May 17 celebration is available at NapaGrowers.org.