Napa Valley Vintners Announces Oakville Ranch's Paula Kornell Elected President of Board of Directors

Announcement Made at Annual Vintner Meeting


2/3/2009 - St Helena, CA - Paula Kornell, general manager of Oakville Ranch Winery, was elected president of the board of directors of the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), the non-profit trade association of nearly 350 member wineries from California's premier winegrowing region. The gavel was passed to Kornell of this prestigious wine industry position from 2008 NVV board president, Pat Stotesbery, owner of Ladera Vineyards at the association's annual general membership meeting.

Paula Kornell is one of the lucky few vintners born and raised in Napa Valley. Growing up in her family's winery, Hanns Kornell Cellars, Paula had the opportunity to see the Napa Valley wine industry evolve, from fewer than 25 wineries in her childhood. As she takes the role of President of the Board of Directors, the trade association now proudly serves nearly 350 member wineries in the Napa Valley. Kornell said, "Forty-five years ago my father, Hanns Kornell was president of this great group. At that point, they were more of an eating and drinking group. They had a lot of fun and it was about getting together, sharing stories. But they knew even then, the importance and the strength of working together to promote not only their individual brands but to promote this little known place, Napa Valley."

Kornell will preside over the 65th anniversary year of the NVV, founded in 1944, and she is the first-ever father-daughter, past-present board president lineage. She continued, "Sixty-five years ago a small group of vintners started getting together as an organized group. They started meeting in a small restaurant on Main Street in St Helena." This year the NVV is finally moving into a permanent home. The association is repurposing the Jackse Winery, vacant since 1951, into a LEED-certified office building that maintains the historic nature of this early 20th century wooden winery.

Now more than ever, the trade group will focus on promoting the appellation and the wines from the region with innovative programs domestically and internationally so as to maintain Napa Valley's premier role in the marketplace in this turbulent economy. Kornell will also lead the organization's ongoing efforts to protect the Napa Valley appellation, and will preside over the board of directors of NVV’s annual community fundraiser, Auction Napa Valley-the American Wine Classic. Along with her fellow vintners, she will keep Napa Valley on the leading edge of enforcing the state's truth in labeling laws, and champion environmental causes like the NVV’s signature sustainable agriculture, watershed protection and winery production facility programs known as Napa Green.

"Today, Napa Valley is world renowned, but we are here because of our unity and the strength of us working together as one. Especially now, in these challenging times, it is even more important that we keep this spirit of unity," she said.

Annual Meeting's Keynote Speaker Banking Industry's Top Gun

The announcement of 2009 leadership was made to the general NVV membership at its annual meeting held at the Culinary Institute of America in St Helena where the day's keynote speaker was Wells Fargo Bank's Chairman Dick Kovacevick who addressed the vintners on the current economic climate, what brought us to this place and his forecast for recovery. He told the crowd that the economics of the 1980-82 Recession were, in his view far worse, with double digit inflation and interest rates as cases in point. He believes today's recession was caused by, "a total disregard of risk management, fueled by greed and unchecked by regulatory authority," in the banking and financial sectors. He continued, "This crisis should never have happened…and the financial services industry must be more responsible." He forecast that the most financially diversified businesses will fare better in this crisis, and he expects 3rd Quarter growth will be the "game changer" as the government stimulus package will be in effect bringing economic recovery "quite substantially, soon."

The NVV's 2009 Leadership Team

Also serving on the NVV board of directors for 2009 are vice president, Kathleen Heitz Myers of Heitz Wine Cellars, secretary, Bruce Cakebread of Cakebread Cellars and chief financial officer, Rick Jones of Jones Family Vineyards. Also serving on the board are, Ray Chadwick of Diageo, Cyril Chappellet of Chappellet Winery and Vineyard,
Stephen Corley of Monticello Vineyards, Ed Matovcik of Beringer Vineyards, Jeff McBride of Stag's Leap Wine Cellar, Pat Stotesbery of Ladera Vineyards, and Bob Torres of Trinchero Family Winery.

About the NVV
Celebrating our 65th anniversary in 2009, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) non-profit trade association is the sole organization responsible for promoting, protecting and enhancing the Napa Valley appellation as a leading winegrowing region. Respect for our history reinforces our commitment to the preservation and enhancement of the Valley's land, wine and community for future generations. We address the shared interested of nearly 350 member wineries.

Contact: Terry Hall, Communications Director 707-968-4217