The Lodi Winegrape Commission, which represents more than 750 winegrape growers and 85 wineries in the Lodi American Viticulture Area of California, has recently announced the appointment of Statesboro native Wendy Brannen as executive director.
The Lodi AVA, comprised of 110,000 acres, is farmed by many growers whose families have produced grapes for a century or more.
"When I met this group, I was instantly confident that I wanted to work for them," Brannen said.
Brannen has more than a decade of diverse experience in the agriculture sector. She joins the Commission from the U.S. Apple Association in Washington, D.C. Her popular campaigns have consistently earned national recognition, such as the "Apples for Life" media tour, named National Awards Winner in 2015 by the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA).
Brannen previously served as executive director of the Vidalia Onion Committee for eight years.
"Leaving the produce industry after more than 10 years is bittersweet," Brannen said. "Both the U.S. apple growers and the growers of Vidalia onions before them have meant more to me than I can convey in one sentence. But, a primary draw of this opportunity is that I will continue to work for growers, which I love, but now I will employ the knowledge and experience I bring to the table from marketing other brands to help the Lodi winegrape growers and the related Lodi wineries.
"I look forward to becoming both a part of the Winegrape Commission team and the Lodi community."