PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance didn’t have to go far to find its next executive director.
Joel Peterson was named its new executive director. Peterson brings nearly 15 years of marketing experience in the beverage industry to the non-profit, member-based association dedicated to the promotion of the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area. Peterson begins his tenure as the executive director on Feb. 4. He replaces Jennifer Porter, who stepped down at the end of 2018.
“We’re proud to welcome Joel to the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance team,” said Faith Wells, board director and chairperson of the Executive Search Committee of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. “Our search for an exceptional candidate led us right back to Paso Robles where Joel has been lending his leadership and marketing expertise to the industry since 2005.”
After graduating with a degree in Media Arts from the University of Arizona, Peterson relocated to Los Angeles, where he worked on more than 25 film and television projects. He followed his passion for wine to Paso Robles, where he has family roots.
Beginning in 2001, Peterson worked harvest for several wineries, including JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery and L’Aventure. In 2005, he joined Hope Family Wines, eventually serving as director of communications, overseeing multiple brands and traveling extensively representing the company.
In 2013, Peterson joined Solterra Strategies, a marketing and public relations agency that specializes in serving wineries and wine organizations including the World of Pinot Noir and the Rhône Rangers.
In 2017, he hopped from wine to beer, joining Firestone Walker Brewing Company as marketing manager. He helped lead a talented team of marketers in the crowded world of craft beer, focusing on tactical marketing of sales campaigns while overseeing the media and events teams.
“I am so excited to join the Alliance team,” said Peterson. “I moved to Paso Robles over 15 years ago to be part of the wine community, and this leadership role feels like the perfect place to be. We’re going continue to highlight and drive the message of Paso Wine.”
The executive director develops and executes the organization’s strategic annual marketing plans while driving future goals and awareness for Paso Robles wine and the wine community to a diverse audience. The position will work with the board and staff to retain and recruit members as well as foster positive community relations between the wine community and the general public with ongoing messaging about the industry’s community support.
Peterson and his wife Dagny live in Paso Robles with their daughters Kalista and Amelia. He is active in the Paso Robles community and serves on the Paso Robles School Board, Twin Cities Community Hospital Board and the Paderewski Festival, a cultural festival dedicated to the legacy of virtuoso pianist Ignacy Paderewski.