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Viticulturist Dan Rotlisberger 2015 Outstanding Young Farmer - Harvest Fair


Viticulturist Dan Rotlisberger
2015 Outstanding Young Farmer - Harvest Fair

From the moment Dan Rotlisberger could reach the clutch on a tractor, he was put to work in his family’s vineyards in Alexander Valley. Fast-forward a few years and today you’ll find him growing wine grapes with his wife Jacqueline, working with Sonoma County’s largest vineyard management group, leading the charge to implement 100% sustainable farming practices in the County, nabbing a prestigious North Bay media award, and raising two young children. A mover and a shaker, Rotlisberger is charting a course for Sonoma County’s winegrowing future with youthful drive and vision beyond his years. The Sonoma County Harvest Fair is pleased to name fifth generation farmer and third generation grape grower Dan Rotlisberger as the 2015 Outstanding Young Farmer.

Rotlisberger’s roots in farming date back to the early 20th century. His childhood experiences and family history shaped his passion for growing grapes of distinction. Dan attended California State University, Fresno, where he coupled his farming background with degrees in Viticulture and Enology. During his senior year he was named the outstanding undergraduate achiever for the Viticulture and Enology department. He then continued his studies in Switzerland, Italy, and France, further confirming his drive for growing the best grapes possible.

Dan received his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics and is now working as a Viticulturist for Redwood Empire Vineyard Management, providing his expertise to growers throughout the region. He’s also on the Board of Directors for Sonoma County Winegrape Commission and Chair of the Sustainability Committee. Rotlisberger is among those leading the charge for Sonoma County to become the nation’s first 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019. 

“Like many farmers in Sonoma County, my dedication to sustainable practices began at home on the family farm. I learned early on that wine is made first in the vineyard,” says Rotlisberger. “When the Winegrape Commission launched its sustainability goal in 2014, we knew it was ambitious and the right thing to do. Just one year later, our 1800 growers are already at 58% compliance. I think that’s incredibly impressive and I’m so proud to be part of wine grape growing in Sonoma County,” he adds.

In April, the North Bay Business Journal named Rotlisberger to its prestigious list of 40 Under 40 Award recipients. The list acknowledges a very select group of industry and community leaders under the age of 40 from across the North Bay.

The Sonoma County Harvest Fair is proud to honor Dan Rotlisberger as 2015’s Outstanding Young Farmer under the age of 40. He is recognized for the exemplary nature of his agricultural program, management, efficiency and leadership—all leading to excellence in the Sonoma County wine industry. The Harvest Fair will celebrate Dan, along with his fellow Harvest Fair Award Recipients, during a ceremony and dinner to be held Sunday, September 27 at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. The celebration is open to the public with tickets available at Tickets will sell out, so early reservations are encouraged.

The 2015 Sonoma County Harvest Fair Celebration will be October 2-4 at the Sonoma County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. For more information, visit or call (707) 545-4203. You can also find "Sonoma County Harvest Fair" on Facebook.



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2014    Cameron Mauritson