Vintners & Growers Alliance names new executive director

Nicole Garzino takes the reins as Cottingham departs.|

The Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance board has hired Nicole Garzino as its executive director, replacing Maureen Cottingham, who stepped down in March after a tenure of 17 years.

Garzino, who grew up in Petaluma, brings nearly 20 years of nonprofit leadership experience to the role, with particular expertise in membership development, cultural inclusion and community building, according to an announcement from the alliance. Recently, she served as the director of membership for Battery Powered, a private social and dining club in San Francisco; and was a management consultant for the Open Hearts Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by actress Jane Seymour.

Previously, Garzino was focused on leadership in various cultural organizations, serving as an executive with the Center for Photographic Art, the Monterey Museum of Art, the Barrington Stage Company, and the Dorchester Center for the Arts and County Arts Council. She has worked in community coalitions for local economic growth, including the promotion of cultural tourism, creative economies and special events, the SVVGA said in a press release.

‘We look forward to Nicole’s leadership as we journey into the next era of SVVGA.’ Prema Behan, board president

Garzino holds a master’s degree in Arts and Cultural Administration from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland.

“We look forward to Nicole’s leadership as we journey into the next era of SVVGA and explore how we can continue to expand how we serve our members and the greater Sonoma Valley community,” said Prema Behan, SVVGA board president, in the press release announcing the hiring of Garzino.

SVVGA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote awareness of Sonoma Valley’s contributions to California’s wine industry. The organization’s area contains six of Sonoma County’s 18 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs), including Bennett Valley, Los Carneros, Moon Mountain District, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Mountain and Sonoma Valley.

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