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   Richard Smith Honored With E.E. Harden Award
by The Grower-Shipper Association
Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 9:01AM EDT

The 78th annual Grower-Shipper Association Golf Tournament & Gala Events were highlighted by the presentation of the Association's E.E. "Gene" Harden Award for Lifetime Achievement in Central Coast Agriculture to Richard Smith (Rich), posthumously. This award was presented to Rich’s family at GSA’s dinner dance gala on June 25, recognizing him for his outstanding and substantial contributions to agriculture and to his community during his life.

Richard Russell Smith was born December 19, 1946 in Oakland, California. The love of agriculture started at a young age when Rich got involved in Contra Costa County 4H.

In 1964, Rich began pursuing a degree in Agricultural Science and Management (which he completed in 1968) at UC Davis. It was there at UC Davis that Rich met his wife, Claudia in 1964. Rich and Claudia married in 1967 and had two children, Jason and Kacy, and six grandchildren.

Rich spent his agricultural career planting, growing, harvesting and promoting Monterey County winegrapes. He started Valley Farm Management, Inc. in 1976 through which he managed 3,000 acres of vineyards on 16 properties, spanning from Gonzales to Bradley. Then in 1985, Rich started Grapeharvest of California, Inc. and machine harvested 3,000-5,000 acres of winegrapes each year.

In 1989, Rich and his wife Claudia started Paraiso Vineyards in Soledad, California. Their thriving family business produces 18,000 cases of wine each year, with their children playing a significant role in the business. Their son Jason is the President and CEO; their daughter-in-law Jennifer is the Creative Director; their daughter Kacy is the Wellness Director. The company was rebranded in 2016 to Smith Family Wines, a brand that includes all of the family’s businesses.

To support the industry he was so passionate about, Rich was actively involved in many boards and associations. In addition to his long-standing membership in the Grower-Shipper Association (Paraiso Vineyards was one of the first wineries to join GSA), Rich was also active in Monterey Country Grape Growers Association, Monterey County Farm Bureau, Monterey County Vintners and Growers, California Association of Winegrape Growers, CDFA Winegrape Inspection Advisory Committee, Winegrape Growers of America, National Grape and Wine Initiative and Central Coast Vineyard Team.

Not only was Rich committed to his industry, but also to his community. His extensive community involvement included Trinity Episcopal Church Bishop’s Committee, Monterey County Agricultural Education Inc., Salinas Valley Water Coalition and Monterey Business Council. In 1998, Rich and his wife Claudia were honored with the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce Ag Citizen of the Year award, and in 2016 Rich was honored (posthumously) with the Spirit of the Community award, also by the Chamber.

Rich Smith was actively involved in the daily operations of Smith Family Wines until his death on December 27, 2015.

The E.E. “Gene” Harden Award for Lifetime Achievement in Central Coast Agriculture is the highest honor bestowed by the Grower-Shipper Association and they were honored to posthumously recognize Rich Smith with the Harden Award for his many significant contributions to the agriculture industry.

Source: The Grower-Shipper Association


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