Article and Photo by Rachel LaFranchi, Farm News Production Editor
Published December 1, 2015
|Michael Monette and Christine Palmberg, North Coast Region Representatives for Sunridge Nurseries.|
Sunridge Nurseries is a family owned business started in 1977 by Glen Stoller. Despite that the business has grown exponentially in the last 38 years, the business is still family owned by Stoller, and his son, Craig, who is now Sunridge’s CEO.
The business which is based in Bakersfield focuses only on grapevines, but sells both wine and table grapevines. They have over 12 acres of green houses, 600 acres of certified rootstock and recently purchased another thousand acre property west of their headquarters in Bakersfield. The new property will be used for planting only Protocol 2010 material.
Sunridge is the largest provider of grapevine stock in the country, and they have the largest continued increase block in the world. The company has an enormous clonal diversity and has a deep and wide product range.
Sunridge prides themselves on commitment to their customers, quality and longevity of their vines. They are vigilant with testing and work closely with UC Davis.
Their vines are California Certified under a clean stock program administered by the CDFA. The vines are tested for at least two years before they are deemed clean and planted into a foundation block. Sunridge has some of the most extensively tested vines available.
Michael Monette’s commitment to customers is a top priority. For Monette, one of two North Coast region representatives, the customer relationship doesn’t end when a purchase is made. Sunridge clients are likely to find Monette out checking on the vines for a least a year after the vines are planted.
“I try to treat everyone special, because they are,” said Monette. “Yes we’re a vendor, but we’re also a partner with the vineyards who buy from us. We share their success.”
Christine Palmberg, who works as a North Coast representative alongside Monette, said their customers appreciate the extra work Sunridge does. When Sunridge takes the order, that’s just the beginning, she said, it’s not just over.
By supporting Farm Bureau, Sunridge also supports their customers and community. Palmberg said they’ve always supported Farm Bureau at all levels to support the industry.
Monette said he knew Sunridge needed to upgrade to Premium Membership at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau when he saw the list of others already at the Premium level. He referred to the members as a select and special group from a tremendous area that had the ability to support agriculture at a higher level. He knew Sunridge also needed to be involved in the effort.
“Because we’re farmers, we enjoy what we do. Look at our office,” said Monette motioning to the surrounding vineyard. “I get to drive around all day with my dog and meet people who want to do the best job possible. Not only do we have a great product, but we take it seriously. It matters.”