Also elected were Kathleen Heitz Myers of Heitz Wine Cellars in St. Helena, first vice chairman; Chris Fehrnstrom of Constellation Wines U.S. in San Francisco, second vice chairman; Carolyn Wente of Wente Family Estates in Livermore, treasurer; and Greg Coleman of E. & J. Gallo Winery in Modesto, secretary. Robert P. (Bobby) Koch is President and CEO of Wine Institute.
Kent has been chief executive officer of The Wine Group--which operates a dozen wineries in California, New York, Australia and Argentina--since 2001. Prior to joining The Wine Group as chief marketing officer in 2000, Kent spent 20 years with E. & J. Gallo Winery and Procter & Gamble.
He is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, a steward for the Vintner's Hall of Fame, and past chairman of the Livermore Chamber of Commerce. Kent and his wife, Darcie, a noted artist and winegrower, reside in the Livermore Valley.
As Wine Institute Chairman, Kent will strive to increase the global competitiveness of California wine and continue the emphasis on defeating punitive tax increases and fees. He supports Wine Institute's work to promote expanded trade and eliminate trade barriers both here and abroad, including opposing H.R. 1161, the wholesaler monopoly protection bill formerly known as H.R. 5034.
Kent, whose passion for sustainability helped The Wine Group become a global leader in carbon efficiency, low waste/lightweight packaging and solar power, is committed to Wine Institute's work to increase adoption of California's sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices.
The Wine Institute membership also elected new district and at-large directors and alternates, and welcomed 14 new winery and associate members, bringing the total membership to 1,011.