Capstone Project Yields Favorable Results for Yucaipa Valley Wine Industry

The Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance has received the results of a 3-week long, non biased, independent study funded by the University of Redlands Capstone Program, assessing the viability of a wine industry in the Yucaipa Valley. After rigorous research by the 4 MBA students creating the study, the YVWA was presented favorite results.

“The Yucaipa Valley truly does have an opportunity to welcome and support a growing wine industry, culture, and economy,” concludes the study. “The special and unique properties of the region, if properly and sustainably harnessed by local vintners, can produce high quality grapes and wines that can compete at the highest levels. Large, multi-million dollar revenues, new direct and indirect jobs, and increasing economic value of the regions’ land and grapes all point to overall positive impacts for the local municipal, county, and state governments, the local residents, and to wine lovers everywhere.”

The Capstone Project studied a variety of topics, ranging from the viability of grape growing in the region, economic impact of a wine industry of various sizes, zoning, traffic, retail, parking, sustainability and much more. The project was created not only to showcase the economic benefits of a wine industry in the Yucaipa Valley, but also to act as a roadmap for local government officials to implement policies to encourage the growth of our nascent industry.

The full study is available by clicking the link below. We encourage all members and non members alike to share this study with those interested in becoming involved in the growth of our industry.

Special thanks to Lynnae Terpstra, Doug Turner, Victoria Fuentes, and Nicole Viramontes for putting this study together, which has already made a huge difference to the efforts of the Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance.

Yucaipa Valley AVA Submitted to TTB on November 15th, 2018

On November 15th, the Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance filed a petition with the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to create the Yucaipa Valley AVA.

An AVA, or “American Viticultural Area,” is a designation granted by the United States Federal Government that permits the commercial production of wine from grapes grown within the designated area. The submission of an AVA petition is the first crucial step toward creating a sustainable wine economy in the Yucaipa Yalley, an economy that will most likely completely transform Yucaipa and the area within the AVA’s designated boundaries.

This past July, the Yucaipa City Council granted the Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance (YVWA) $3,035 in order to allow the Alliance to commence work on drafting the AVA petition. Though the process was estimated to take 6-12 months to complete, the YVWA completed the petition and submitted it for review within 4 months.

The AVA petition, co-authored by Craig Suveg, Devin Cohen, and John Leuer, details the history of the Yucaipa Valley and the unique attributes that make the region perfect for viticulture. Exhaustive research has revealed a unique combination of high elevation, significant diurnal temperature shifts and soil composition promising the Yucaipa Valley with the potential to grow high quality grapes that can produce complex, long lasting wines. The proposed Yucaipa Valley AVA includes the cities of Yucaipa, Calimesa, Oak Glen, and surrounding county areas on several sides.

Now that the AVA petition is submitted, the Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance will work closely with the TTB over the coming 12-20 months to have the petition approved. Though approval is likely within a year and a half, vinification of land has already begun to accelerate. The Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance reports that 14 known vineyards have already been planted in the Yucaipa Valley, and that over 2,000 plantings are scheduled to be implemented by the YVWA Viticultural Program, supervised by Director Preston Todd, in the spring of 2019 alone.

This has been a monumental undertaking, and now that a wine country is on its way to Yucaipa there is more work to do than ever. If you’d like to support the efforts of the Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance to create a wine industry in our valley, you can make a tax deductible donation or join as a Wine Alliance Member below!

Yucaipa City Council Awards YVWA Over $5,000 to Pursue an AVA Designation

The Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance is proud to announce that we have been granted over $5,000 by the Yucaipa City Council to pursue an AVA designation for the region of Yucaipa.

The process began on June 25th, when Craig spoke on behalf of the Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance to City Council to request $8,000, a portion of the annual Community Activity Grant. The Community Activity Grant is a city grant available to local non-profits who are holding events and pursuing goals that are beneficial to the community.

The subject was hotly contested amongst the present City Council members, with Denise Allen and Bobby Duncan voting in favor of approving the YVWA with $3,035 to contribute to the establishment of an AVA. Council members David Avila and Dick Riddell did not approve the funds, and because Mayor Greg Bogh was absent for this week's City Council meeting, the vote was delayed until the upcoming meeting on July 9th.

Two weeks later, Craig spoke again to City Council, as well as a supportive crowd that gathered cheers from the audience at the conclusion of his speech. As City Council began to debate the merits of a wine industry in Yucaipa, Denise Allen and Bobby Duncan gave impassioned speeches about the benefits of a wine country in the Yucaipa Valley, gathering large cheers from the crowd. Though Dick Riddell maintained his view that we were not properly before the board, David Avila publicly gave support to the Wine Alliance, though he preferred that we search for alternative funds to create the AVA and not use the Community Activity Grant.

Greg Bogh became the deciding vote on City Council, and opened up his remarks to the audience with "This could be a game changer." Mayor Bogh, clearly seeing the vision put forth by Craig and the Wine Alliance, awarded us the $3,035 and an additional $2,000 in in-kind help from the City to help further offset the costs of fundraising for an AVA.

This is the most significant step the YVWA has made toward establishing a viticultural area in the Yucaipa Valley. We have raised over $5,000 in funds and now received the public support of 4 Council Members to create a wine region in Yucaipa. With these seed funds, we'll begin the process for applying for the AVA, which Vice President Preston Todd, Board Member John Leuer, and President Craig Suveg have tentatively named the Yucaipa Valley District AVA. 

Though this is a significant step forward in the creation of an AVA, we still have lots more work to do. The application process is lengthy and will cost close to $20,000 when all is said and done. You can get involved by becoming a member, or making a contribution to the Wine Alliance to help establish an AVA, enriching the Yucaipa area and transforming the region forever.