Vineyard Employee Sustainability Recognition Program

The monthly Vineyard Employee Sustainability Recognition Award is presented to vineyard employees who are achieving excellence in the workplace. Employees are recognized and rewarded for individual achievement and exceptional performance. Each month highlights a different theme, showcasing the various skills and numerous contributions of Sonoma County’s vineyard employees.

Nominations are accepted each month under the month’s specific theme (e.g. safety, leadership, pruning etc). SCGGF will select four vineyard employees every month for the SCGGF Vineyard Employee Sustainability Recognition Award.

Eligibility: Full time, part-time or seasonal employees working in agriculture for a vineyard owner, vineyard management company or winery are eligible for the Vineyard Employee Sustainability Recognition Award. Vineyard employees must be directly involved in the production of vineyards to participate in the program (e.g. Foreman, Field Worker etc). *Businesses may only nominate one employee per month*

Nomination Deadline: All nominations must be submitted by the 10th of the month following the month of the award. (i.e. February applications are due March 10th). Nominations should be submitted via the online form or emailed to to [email protected].

Recognition: Recognition of all recipients will occur throughout the year. A quarterly advertisement will be placed in the Press Democrat or local Spanish newspaper(s) recognizing all employees selected that quarter. An announcement will also be made on the local radio during KSRO’s The Drive with Steve Jaxon. Recipients of the award will receive gifts in the form of gift cards and clothing. At the conclusion of each year, SCGGF will host an award luncheon for all award recipients, their employers and family members.

Monthly Themes

January – Leadership

An employee whose efforts have inspired and supported the performance and achievement of others. He/she takes initiative, has a strong work ethic and character and continuously carries out additional responsibilities beyond regular job assignments.

February – Pruning

An employee with exceptional pruning skills: precision, accuracy, takes care of hand tools with care, trims the vines avoiding injury to themselves, their coworkers and the vines etc.

March – Innovation/Creativity

An employee who excels at finding innovation solutions to complex problems. Someone who is quick on their feet and offers advice or ideas that display outside the box thinking.

April – Conservation

In the spirit of Earth day, this month’s theme focuses on conservation of natural resources and sustainable practices. This employee goes above and beyond to ensure valuable natural resources are being conserved (e.g. water conservation, reducing energy consumption and/or embracing sustainable practices in their work etc).

May – Frost Protection

An employee who is integral during the winter months while monitoring for frost protection. He/she proactively manages brush or trees that prevent cool air from flowing through the vineyard, practice soil management, monitor for erosion, apply irrigation or wind machines strategically etc.

June – Determination

An employee who consistently displays hard work, courage and resilience when faced with a challenge. Someone who is always striving for continuous improvement, is dependable and takes initiative.

July – Canopy Management

An employee who excels in canopy management whether it be shoot positioning, hedging, leaf removal or cluster thinning. This employee excels in this area, promoting sugar and acid composition which further develops the aroma and flavor compounds in the grapes.

August – Safety

An employee who consistently ensures a safe work environment for themselves as well as their coworkers. They follow safety protocols to reduce mistakes and take extra safety precautions in extreme temperatures or when working on large farm equipment etc.

September – Harvest

An employee who displays incredible talent in any area of harvest tasks.

October – Harvest

An employee who displays incredible talent in any area of harvest tasks.

November – Collaboration

An employee who exemplifies teamwork and supports their peers. They listen to other perspectives or proactively jump in and support coworkers when necessary.

December – Communication

An employee who possesses exceptional communication skills. A good communicator who works well with others, improves the overall workplace culture, eliminates barriers and resolves problems.

Click here for more information.
Click here to download a form to nominate an employee.

Wildfire Housing Support Fund for Ag Employees and Their Families

After the wildfires ravaged Sonoma County in October 2017, SCGGF acted quickly to establish a Wildfire Housing Support Fund, which to date has raised more than $1 million dollars to support Sonoma County agricultural workers impacted by the fires.  During the past year, SCGGF has supported more than 280 agricultural workers and their families by providing  new and/or temporary housing, supplementing lost wages, and providing gift cards to purchase new household items, food and supplies and to help pay utilities.

As we approach the one year anniversary of the wildfires, we remain committed to providing this support. And addressing the long-term need for affordable housing for ag workers in Sonoma County.

Ag Employees Impacted by Fire Receive Housing Support

More than 150 agricultural employees and their families from Sonoma County who were displaced by the October wildfires have begun receiving much needed help from the SCGGF Housing Support Fund for Agricultural Employees and Their Families. Read the full press release here: Ag Employees Impacted by Fire Receive Housing Support

SCGGF Application for Wildfire Housing Support Fund for Ag Employees and Their Families

If you are an ag employee who or whose family has been impacted or displaced by the Sonoma County wildfires and are seeking assistance, please click the buttons below to apply in English or Spanish. Once you have completed the form, email it to [email protected]. For questions, please call 707-522-5864.

The October wildfires that began in Sonoma County on October 8th left more than 100,000 residents county-wide displaced from their homes—many of whom permanently lost those homes. At final count, 5,100 homes across Sonoma County were destroyed, and of that total, 5% of all Santa Rosa homes were lost.

Additional Programs


SCGGF is committed to being part of the solution for the affordable housing crisis in Sonoma County.  Our goal is for ag employees and their families to have adequate and affordable housing available for both temporary and permanent residents.

  • Ortiz Family Plaza: We raised over $100,000 in critical funding needed to support the construction of Ortiz Family Plaza in Santa Rosa.  The rent for this 30-unit affordable housing complex for farmer worker families is capped at 30% of the total family income lessening the burden to afford essentials such as food, health care and transportation.  Construction for Ortiz Family Plaza has been completed and is currently now accepting applications.  To apply, please call 707.526.1155 x4743.


We worked with key partners to better understand and address the health disparities that Sonoma County ag employees and their families face.  After hosting a series of roundtable discussions with vineyard employees over the summer, we also learned directly from them on issues that are of most importance to them and their community.  This helped us ensure the Foundation’s strategic priorities match the needs most important to our agricultural workforce.   From this, we identified that we can help by connecting them with existing programs and resources that can assist with health and dental preventative care and children’s wellness. 


SCGGF is dedicated to help make affordable, high quality childcare available to agricultural employees and their children.  We are advocates of creating a new affordable childcare model that offers flexible timers and financial credits to ag employees who work hours fluctuate depending throughout the year.  We are currently working with established childcare resources and providers to determine the best solution to this dilemma.


Sonoma County provides many opportunities for agricultural workers to advance their education, skill development and careers.

By collaborating with partners on educational programs, our goal is to increase the skill set of ag employees and create leaders in the ag community.

  • Vineyard Employee Sustainability Recognition Program: Sustaining a family farm requires love, commitment and hard work.  We are proud to recognize the people who help us grow the worlds highest quality grapes. For more information or to nominate an employee, please visit (include link to full page)
  • Provided funding for an English as a Second Language (ESL) program for adults. This program also provided childcare/homework time for the children and a network and education for the parents.


Our vision for education is to increase, inspire and develop the next generation of farmers and ag employees in Sonoma County.  To achieve  this goal, we aim to provide ag education support and resources for teachers and their students.

  • Teacher Externship Program: In partnership with the Sonoma County Office of Education and the Sonoma County Career Technical Education Foundation, we recently piloted a Teacher Externship program. Teachers from two Sonoma County high schools participated in ag education outside the classroom for a week long deep dive into Sonoma County agriculture. The overall goal of the program was to give the teachers a broad overview of Sonoma County agriculture, immerse them in the history, value and challenges of ag so they have a deeper understanding and appreciation. From this, they will develop an ag based curriculum and one of the schools plans on planting a vineyard. This experience will help them write the curriculum their students will learn from. This program is a wonderful opportunity for us to highlight Sonoma County agriculture and educate teachers in hopes of developing the next generation of Sonoma County farmers.
  • Little Library Project: In collaboration with United Way of Wine Country and the Sonoma County Career Technical Education Foundation, we funded Little Free Libraries in Sonoma County. Little Free Libraries provide 24/7 access to books where books are scarce. Especially during the summer months, Little Free Libraries are an excellent resource for local families and children. These libraries were placed in targeted agricultural worker family communities (Ortiz Plaza in Larkfield and La Luz in Sonoma Valley) to support family literacy and education.