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Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation hosts annual pruning contest for vineyard workers

More than 100 vineyard workers across the Napa Valley competed at the 22nd annual Napa County Pruning Contest at Beringer’s Gamble Ranch Vineyard on Saturday, Feb. 3.

Guadalupe Soriano, first-place winner. Photo by Chrome Visual Co.

More than 100 vineyard workers across the Napa Valley competed at the 22nd annual Napa County Pruning Contest at Beringer’s Gamble Ranch Vineyard on Saturday, Feb. 3. Hosted by the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, contestants pruned vines the way they know best: with their hands and tools–no machinery.

Scored for their technique and quality of pruning, all contestants pruned five vines in the preliminary competition, which was the main event. The highest-scoring contestants competed in the final round, and the top eight competitors, four in the women’s division and four in the men’s division, were the winners. Collectively, they took home more than $4,000 in cash, wines and gifts. Some winners were matched by their employers in cash prices–something typically done by participating wineries.

Andrea Mejia, from Trefethen Family Vineyards and Guadalupe Soriano from Atlas Vineyard Management took first place in their respective divisions.

The 22nd Annual Napa County Pruning Contest first place finishers: Ana Mejia from Trefethen Family Vineyards (left) and Guadalupe Soriano from Atlas Vineyard Management (right). Photo by Chrome Visual Co.

Mejia competed last year and secured third place. However, while proud of her achievement, she had a strong desire to claim the top spot. “I wanted to demonstrate that women are also able to compete,” Mejia said from the podium. She added that she came to this year’s competition “with more confidence and purpose.” Women make up about 30 percent of the vineyard worker population in the valley.

In an interview with local radio DJ Gabriela Fernandez of MegaMix, Antonio Zamora from A&J Vineyard Supply said that sponsoring the Napa County Pruning Contest is an opportunity to connect with those they support, from farmworkers to grape growers, and everyone who dedicates their lives to working in the wine industry. Zamora added, “If it weren’t for the dedicated, expert talent tending to the local vineyards, the Napa Valley wouldn’t be what it is today.”

Below is a complete list of the 2024 Napa County Pruning Contest.

Women’s Division Winners:

1st Place: Ana Mejia, Trefethen Family Vineyards

2nd Place: Rubi Reyes Hernandez, Gonzalez Vineyard Management

3rd Place: Guadalupe Gutierrez, Renteria Vineyard Management

4th Place: Cristina Arroyo, Renteria Vineyard Management

 Men’s Division Winners:

1st Place: Guadalupe Soriano, Atlas Vineyard Management

2nd Place: Benjamin Marron, Bettinelli Vineyards

3rd Place: Julio Alonso, Hardin Vineyard Management

4th Place: Jesús Sánchez, Renteria Vineyard Management

The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, founded by the Napa Valley Grapegrowers in 2011, is dedicated to supporting Napa valley’s vineyard workers through education and professional development. The foundation has assisted more than 20,000 vineyard workers and their families in Napa County by offering English literacy initiatives, mentorship opportunities, financial literacy courses, and various other educational programs.

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