Karissa Kruse

President, Sonoma County Winegrowers

As a leader of Sonoma County Winegrowers and Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation, Karissa has been instrumental in the county’s sustainability initiative and is herself a partner in small vineyard and winery on Sonoma Mountain.  She studied economics and marketing at Wharton School of Business, Pennsylvania, and now sits on the Advisory Committee for its Initiative on Environmental Leadership. She has 20 years’ experience in marketing, brand management, strategic planning and business development with companies including General Mills, Universal Studios, Mattel and Dairy Management.  She is a Marshall Memorial Fellow and holds board positions with a range of organisations that promote tourism and commerce within Sonoma County.

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Beyond the soil:  Cultivating agricultural families in Sonoma County

Sonoma County, and California as a whole, faces an agricultural labor crisis. Lack of immigration reform, prohibitive worker visa requirements and increased permanent residency have all generated a shrinking, aging workforce at a time when the industry’s demand for skilled workers is at its highest.  In January 2016 Sonoma County Winegrowers launched the Grape Growers Foundation, a program of healthcare, childcare, education and affordable housing initiatives aimed at making Sonoma the region of choice for agricultural workers and their families.  Karissa will explain how Sonoma County is…

  • Working with agricultural employees and their families to understand their challenges
  • Convening over 50 organizations on collaborative solutions to meet those challenges
  • Creating a process to support public/private initiatives
  • Putting people first to advance Sonoma County’s commitment to sustainability and its 100-year plan to preserve agriculture


Wine Vision