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The Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) and Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation held the 18th Annual Napa County Pruning Contest at Beringer’s Gamble Ranch Vineyard on Saturday, Feb. 9. In spite of the overcast skies, 153 contestants came out to showcase their skills in what is considered the most prestigious competition for Napa Valley’s vineyard professionals.

“The Napa County Pruning Contest is a longstanding tradition where the best vineyard professionals in the industry come to compete year after year,” Macy Stubstad of Rudd Oakville Estate and co-chair of the Napa County Pruning Contest said in a statement. “The high level of precision, focus, determination and celebration make for a lively contest that brings our grapegrowing community together.”

Each of the contestants pruned five vines in the day’s preliminary competition. Those with the highest scores went on to the final round, which produced the winners: Four in the women’s division and four in the men’s. The winners took home more than $950 in cash, armfuls of pruning tools, clothing, gift cards and other prizes. The crowd favorite award was a handmade silver belt buckle given to the 1st place winners. Employers typically match the cash prize winnings, so the day was highly rewarding for the top 8 finalists. All contestants took home 18th Annual Pruning Contest sweatshirts and enjoyed a catered lunch between competition rounds.

2019 was the second year the contest was held on a Saturday, making it fun for family, friends, and colleagues to attend and to cheer on their favorite contestants.

All contestants were Napa County residents and full-time employees. All who participated volunteered their time to compete and most were paid by their employers for the day. Many had successfully competed in internal competitions within their own companies prior to arriving to the countywide contest.

Women’s Division Winners:

1st Place: Veronica Medina Reyes, Bayview Vineyards—$950 in cash and gifts cards plus a custom trophy belt buckle; gift basket and apparel.

2nd Place: Cecilia Avina, Silverado Farming Company- $675 in cash and gifts cards plus gift basket and apparel.

3rd Place: Margarita Bonilla, Walsh Vineyard Management—$400 in cash and gifts cards plus gift basket and apparel.

4th Place: Maria Eusebio, Bayview Vineyard Management—$225 in cash and gifts cards plus gift basket and apparel.

Men’s Division Winners:

1st Place: Antonio Lopez Pacheco, Vinedresser Vineyard Management—$950 in cash and gifts cards plus a custom trophy belt buckle; gift basket and apparel.

2nd Place: Fernando Avina, Pine Ridge Vineyards- $675 in cash and gifts cards plus gift basket and apparel.

3rd Place: Gerardo Romero, Sutter Home Family Vineyards- $400 in cash and gifts cards plus gift basket and apparel.

4th Place: Herube Avila, Beckstoffer Vineyards—$225 in cash and gifts cards plus gift basket and apparel.

Support for this event was provided by premier sponsors Nemerever Vineyards, Silicon Valley Bank, Central Valley, and PYGAR USA Inc/FELCO.

The Napa Valley Grapegrowers is a nonprofit trade organization that has played a vital role in strengthening Napa Valley’s reputation as a world-class viticultural region for 44 years. Its mission is to preserve and promote Napa Valley’s world-class vineyards. NVG represents 726 Napa County grapegrowers and associated businesses.

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