Morgen McLaughlin has been hired as the new executive director of the Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association effective April 19 — the day before the organization's annual Vintners' Festival in Solvang. McLaughlin comes to Santa Barbara County from the Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association, a regional tourism marketing group in Corning, N.Y., said Kurt Ammann, president of the SBCVA board of directors.

McLaughlin replaces longtime executive director Jim Fiolek, who resigned earlier this year.

The SBCVA's board of directors is "confident and excited to have Morgan joining the team," said Ammann, general manager of Dierberg Starlane Vineyards.

"Her experience is a perfect fit to thoughtfully grow our organization and significantly increase the benefits for our members. We believe this change comes at a time when the association is poised to increase recognition for the area as a whole and better communicate the unique diversity and quality of the areas vineyards and wines.”

Since 2007, McLaughlin served as president and CEO of the New York association. From 1994 to 2006, she co-owned and managed a small winery and vineyard in Connecticut, where she supervised wine production, grape growing and marketing.

The SBCVA news release notes that during her tenure at Finger Lakes Wine Country, McLaughlin increased the association’s revenues by more than 50 percent, created integrated tourism and wine marketing campaigns and generated significant media coverage for the Finger Lakes region.

McLaughlin earned bachelors of arts degrees in English and secondary education from Boston College.

Ammann said that McLaughlin will relocate to Santa Barbara County with her husband and three sons by June 30. In the interim, following the Vintners' Festival, she will meet with various member wineries, grape growers and other industry professionals during the weeks of April 21-27, May 16-23 and June 20-27.

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