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Napa Valley Wine Academy exceeds its goals

The Napa Valley Wine Academy announced that it is finishing up 2021 exceeding both its scholarship goals and enrollment projections for the year.

“The student is at the heart of everything that we do, including curriculum development, the educational process, innovative online learning platforms, accessibility, diversity, financial aid, and ultimately professional success,” said NVWA Founder Christian Oggenfuss.

“We have been able to support more students with scholarships developed through partnerships, as well as witness exponential growth both in terms of enrollment and academic success. The academy was honored to provide the highest-level wine education to nearly 8,000 students in 2021.”

After topping more than $150,000 in cumulative scholarship value this year, the NVWA will continue to support and develop new partnerships in the future. The next round of scholarship applications will begin early in 2022.

A continued commitment to making an investment in the evolution of the wine world, as well as support non-profit organizations that benefit a wide array of people, NVWA scholarship programs, include financial assistance for Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) tuition, Business of Wine and other certifications that can be earned at the academy.

Scholarships partners have included the Association of African-American Vintners (open to anyone who is committed to actively improving diversity in the wine industry), the Chloe Wine Collection Learn for Success Scholarship Program (open to female applicants), The Roots Fund (focused upon BIPOC wine communities), Wine Unify and Wine Access in partnership with NBA star Josh Hart.

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Michaela Kelly joins Stony Hill Vineyard

Stony Hill Vineyard has appointed Michaela Kelly as the estate director. Gaylon Lawrence and Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, Jr. acquired the winery last December. Kelly joins Jaimee Motley who has taken on the role of winemaker.

Kelly is responsible for developing the private tasting program, providing team leadership, and ensuring the achievement of DTC goals for the tasting room, e-commerce, and events.

Kelly comes to Stony Hill by way of Chicago, she discovered wine while working at Roister, an Alinea Group Restaurant. To further her wine education, she transitioned to the sommelier team at Alinea, where she worked until July 2020. She moved to Napa Valley to work as a harvest intern with Schramsberg and subsequently joined the team at Press restaurant in St. Helena. 

Stony Hill was originally purchased in 1943 by Fred and Eleanor McCrea as a weekend getaway. The McCreas made the rugged hillside spot their home and started planting vines a few years later. Their first harvest was in 1952. Upon Fred’s death in 1977, his assistant and protégé, Mike Chelini, continued Stony Hill’s winemaking tradition for more than 40 years. In 1991, the McCrea's son Peter and daughter-in-law Willinda assumed day-to-day management of the winery – and in 2011, their daughter Sarah joined the business making it a third-generation family-operated business. In 2018, Ted Hall and his family acquired Stony Hill Winery and subsequently sold it to Lawrence.

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After undergoing river restoration projects near Gamble Family Vineyards, Tom Gamble shows its functionality following a heavy rainfall. Courtesy of Gamble Family Vineyards.

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Napa Valley has lured many young winemakers from across the globe. But in the case of Laura Díaz Muñoz the trip to Napa was meant only to be a brief sidestep before moving on. That was in 2007. Today, she is winemaker and general manager at Ehlers Estate winery. 

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