Prema Kerollis, General Manager and Co-Founder of Three Sticks and Head High Wines
SANTA ROSA, CA (August 31, 2023) – Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) and The Wine Business Institute (WBI) at Sonoma State University (SSU) are proud to announce the creation of the Wine Business Leadership Award and this year’s inaugural recipient. This new partnership award between SCV and WBI will recognize an individual annually who demonstrates great wine business leadership, vision, innovation, inspiration and impactful service to the Sonoma County community.
“Sonoma County Vintners is proud to once again partner with our great friends at The Wine Business Institute to co-curate this award and to honor dedicated members of our wine community,” said Sonoma County Vintners Executive Director Michael Haney. “The award will recognize a recipient’s amazing leadership, vision and impactful contributions that continue to elevate our local wine industry, community and region.”
Eligible contributions can encompass areas such as innovative marketing techniques, enhancing the return on capital projects related to viticulture, mobilizing the wine community to back public policy measures, sustainability efforts, fostering team spirit, and promoting inclusivity within the wine sector. An award nominee’s dedication to championing Sonoma County and their community involvement can also factor into consideration. The award is open to all but nominees must be currently employed by one of the 250 SCV member wineries and have ties as an alumnus of either SSU or WBI. The nomination and selection proceedings will be managed by board members from both SCV and WBI.
“We at The Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University are immensely honored to also join hands with Sonoma County Vintners in celebrating the exemplars of our wine community,” said Wine Business Institute Executive Director Ray Johnson. “The Sonoma County Wine Business Leadership Award underscores our mutual commitment to recognizing the dynamic leaders who not only shape the future of wine business but also act as beacons of innovation, inclusivity, and sustainable growth. As we continue our journey in the rich tapestry of Sonoma County’s wine legacy, this award stands as a testament to the endless possibilities that arise when vision meets passion.”
SCV and WBI are pleased to announce that Prema Kerollis, General Manager and Co-Founder of Three Sticks and Head High Wines, is the recipient of the inaugural 2023 Wine Business Leadership Award. Prema will be honored at the 2023 Sonoma County Wine Auction to be held September 16, benefiting the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation.
Prema has spent the last 19 years working with Three Sticks and Head High Wines while also serving the greater Sonoma County community. Three Sticks implemented many community-centered pandemic-era initiatives for partners in hospitality, restaurants, travel and the arts through their Three Sticks Together Benefit Concert and Chef Series to raise funds for Sonoma Family Meal, Music Cares and Black Fret. Also under her direction, Head High Wines became the first Ocean Positive Certified Winery in the world and donated proceeds from every bottle sold during their first eight years in business to the Sonoma Education Foundation and Sustainable Surf.
Prema takes great pride in Three Sticks being a company spearheaded by strong female leaders across various facets of the business. During Women’s History Month in March, they emphasize their commitment by fundraising for organizations that uplift women, such as Every Mother Counts. For Prema, Three Sticks serves as a nurturing ground for emerging and exceptional female talents in the industry.
Prema has served on the boards of Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance, Sonoma League for Historic Preservation, and the Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation and has participated in the Wine Country Women Think Tank. She has volunteered with the Pachamama Alliance, Prestwood Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization and Odyssey of the Mind.
“Annually at Three Sticks we create and participate in volunteer projects at year end to support a variety of organizations in our community,” said Prema. “The Three Sticks team has worked with F.I.S.H., La Luz, Toys for Tots, Adopt a Heart at Home, and Power to Soar. “These initiatives and traditions instill a sense of responsibility for our community, appreciation for the abundance and depth in all of our lives, all while bonding us together as a team.”
In addition to Prema, SCV and WBI wish to recognize all of the finalists who were nominated for the leadership award: Mark Mathewson, Vice President of Hospitality, Jackson Family Wines; Alexandra O’Gorman, Vice President, Guest Experience, Foley Family Wines; Abigail Smyth, Export Director, Crimson Wine Group; Nate Weis, Vice President of Winegrowing, Silver Oak Cellars and Twomey Cellars; and Stephanie Wycoff, General Manager, Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery.
About Sonoma County Vintners
Sonoma County Vintners is the leading voice of Sonoma County wine, dedicated to raising awareness of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier wine regions. Sonoma County Vintners represents over 250 wineries throughout the county. The organization actively promotes Sonoma County through educational programming; advocates for its members at local, state and federal levels; and contributes to the local communities through our Sonoma County Vintners Foundation. Sonoma County Wine Auction, its annual fundraiser, benefits non-profit organizations throughout the region. To learn more about Sonoma County Vintners, visit SonomaWine.com.
About The Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University
The Wine Business Institute (WBI) serves as an intellectual and industry center for faculty, students, and the business community. Founded in 1996 as a partnership between the wine industry leaders and the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University, the WBI provides cutting-edge research that informs industry best practices and program curriculum. For more information about degree and certificate programs or wine business research, please visit sbe.sonoma.edu/winebiz.