Chris Chandler, who has led the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association as executive director since 2007, is retiring at the end of the year.
Chandler said she would be “taking on little projects” and spending more time at a second home she and her husband have in the small Sierra Nevada foothills community of Murphys. They also hope to take a delayed trip to wine country in Spain once the pandemic ends.
“We’re in that phase, that chapter of life,” Chandler said. “It’s unknown and unfamiliar, but it was time for a change.”
Her husband, Daryl Tom, is a hospital management consultant.
In 2019, Diablo Magazine named Chandler one of “three female power players bringing their A games to our local wine region.”
David Kent, with Darcie Kent Vineyards, said Chandler’s legacy would include her efforts to bring a wine country hotel to downtown Livermore, which was approved by the voters in a referendum last spring.
“It would have been a very different outcome without her leadership, attention and ability to mobilize a broad section of the community to stand up for what is right and do what was needed to advance our wine country,” Kent said.
Tracy Farhad, who heads Visit Tri-Valley, the destination marketing association for the region, praised Chandler for her willingness “to partner and advocate on behalf of the hoteliers and wineries.”
“She has served seven years as an invaluable director on the Visit Tri-Valley board, and has long understood and contributed to the larger, regional and national marketing effort,” Farhad said. “We will miss her.”
Rachael Snedecor, executive director of Livermore Downtown, also said Chandler “always took a collaborative approach,” reaching out to involve downtown businesses in winegrower event to the benefit of both.
Under Chandler’s direction, the winegrower’s association received regional marketing grants totaling almost $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. She also led the organization through the economic recession of 2008-2009.
“It’s been an honor and privilege to represent Livermore Valley’s wineries and vineyards for almost 14 years,” Chandler said. “I’m so proud of everything the members, team, board and I have accomplished together.”
Chandler has also served on the board of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Foundation, the Las Positas College Viticulture & Enology program advisory board, East Bay-Economic Development Alliance marketing and land-use committees, and the Visit Tri-Valley board of directors.
Brandi Addington, long-time operations and membership director for the winegrowers, will oversee the organization with support from the board of directors for the foreseeable future.