Karissa Kruse is President of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, a marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. Karissa joined Sonoma County Winegrowers as Director of Marketing in September 2012 and was named President for the organization on May 1, 2013. Since taking over the top leadership role at the Sonoma County Winegrowers, Kruse has guided the strategy and implementation of Sonoma County’s commitment to become America’s first 100% certified sustainable wine region. Her forward-thinking approach has helped Sonoma County Winegrowers gain global recognition for their efforts and she’s been invited to speak at major conferences around the world. In an effort to continue to lead in the social responsibility component of sustainability, Kruse announced the relaunch of the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation in January 2016 that aims to assist local agricultural employees and their families in the areas of healthcare, affordable housing, childcare and education. She currently serves as executive director of the Foundation.
In January of 2017, Kruse launched the Sonoma County Center for Ag Sustainability, a think tank in partnership with the Wharton School of Business, that is focused on bringing subject matter experts from around the United States to Sonoma County to work on issues and opportunities affecting the long-term preservation of agriculture.
Karissa earned a BS in Economics and an MBA in Marketing from Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania. She has 20 years of experience in various aspects of marketing, brand management, strategic planning and business development. Karissa has worked for companies such as General Mills, Universal Studios, Mattel and Dairy Management.
She is a partner in a small winery, Argot Wines, and the owner of a 25-acre parcel on Sonoma Mountain, with five acres planted to winegrapes.
She is on the Alumni Advisory Board for Wharton’s Initiative on Global Environmental Leadership and a member of Wharton Women in Leadership. Karissa is on the German Marshall Fund Alumni Leadership Council and FIVS Environmental Sustainability Working Group. She is on the Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Housing Task Force for the Sonoma County Alliance. Karissa is on the Board of Directors, Board Development Committee and Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of Wine Country. She is on the Board of Directors of Sonoma County Tourism, Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, Sonoma County Farm Bureau, and the Shone Farm Foundation. Karissa serves on the Health Action Catalyst Team and its Governance Working Group and is a member of the Santa Rosa Junior College Wine Studies Advisory Board. In 2014, Kruse was selected as a North Bay Business Journal Women in Business Award recipient and was a Forty under 40 Award recipient in 2012. Kruse was honored with the Marshall Memorial Fellowship in 2015. Karissa received the 2016 Friend of Agriculture Award from the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. She was named to the 2016 Wine Business Monthly Magazine's Top 50 Wine Industry Leaders. In 2017, she was named to the Organic Authority's List of "Badass Disruptors Changing Your Food System." Karissa was honored by the North Bay Business Journal in 2017 with a Community Philanthropy Award. In 2018, Karissa received the CAWG Leader of the Year award and was also recognized by the Center for Well-Being as being a Community Leader in Health and Wellness.