Biz bits |

Biz bits

In a county where the typical winery bottles 4,000 cases or less a year, the Nevada County Wine Guild of Nevada City has sold 8,000 cases of its sulfite-free wine to the Trader Joe’s retail chain.

The wine, a red blend called Cote Zero, is being sold under the Orleans Hill label at Trader Joe’s stores in Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and California. (The closest store to western Nevada County is in Roseville.)

The order was delivered in January, and winery president Tony Norskog reports that Trader Joe’s is down to a one-month supply. Established in 1988, the wine guild produces Chardonnay, Syrah, Zinfandel and blended wines.


There are $100,000 in low-cost loans ready to assist small businesses in unincorporated Nevada County, but entrepreneurs will have to act soon, said Nina Bigley, program manager of the county Development Agency.

Bigley oversees the Microenterprise Business Development Program, which will loan up to $25,000 to businesses with five or fewer employees to purchase the things needed to run a business, provide working capital, or make leasehold improvements.

The program, developed by the county Economic Resource Council and the Sierra Economic Development District, wants to assist 60 small-business owners before the grant runs out Aug. 31.

“Unfortunately, local small businesses are not taking advantage of the loan component of the program, which means we will have to return the funds to the state by the end of August,” Bigley said.

The program is designed for low-income business owners, but other small-business owners can obtain loans if they plan to hire low-income employees.

Information on the program is available by phoning the development district at 823-4703 or the county housing office at 265-1388.


LectraMedia of Nevada City has announced its second annual variable data design contest, part of its continuing effort to convince graphic designers that personalized printing is the wave of the future.

The company will award $1,000 for the best design of a four postcard direct mail campaign that demonstrates the use of variable data in a “mini-mailing.”

The winner will be announced at an Aug. 25 conference in Nevada City on variable data that features a keynote address by Barbara Pellow, chief marketing officer of the Graphic Communications Group at Eastman Kodak Co.

Teri Paulus, agency and broker liaison at LectraMedia, said interest in personalized printing is growing. She cited statistics that show 38 percent of graphic designers have done a variable data project in the last 12 months.

“This is a great turnaround from the resistance up till now,” she said. Details on the competition and conference are available by phoning Paulus at 478-8300, ext. 11, or via e-mail at


The top elected officials of Nevada County, Grass Valley, Nevada City and Truckee will review accomplishments and discuss plans for the future at a luncheon Friday in Grass Valley.

The annual presentation, “State of the County, Cities and Town,” will feature Chair Ted Owens of the county Board of Supervisors, Mayor Gerard Tassone of Grass Valley, Mayor Conley Weaver of Nevada City and Vice Mayor Beth Ingalls of Truckee.

Tickets for the 11:45 a.m. luncheon at Christopher’s Catering are $15, and must be reserved by Wednesday. Reservations can be made by phoning 274-0995 or via e-mail at

The event, which is open to the public, is sponsored by the Grass Valley/Nevada County Chamber of Commerce, the Nevada County Contractors Association and the Nevada County Business Association.


For the 11th time in the past 12 years, Friar Tuck’s Restaurant and Bar in Nevada City has been honored for the quality, breadth and choice of its wine by Wine Spectator magazine, a leading wine industry publication.

Owner Greg Cook said his two wine cellars contain 350 varieties of wine, a total of 10,000 bottles. All of this has been assembled since 2002, when a fire destroyed the restaurant.

“During the 14 months we were closed, I carried around a spiral notebook and kept tasting wines,” he said. “That’s how we rebuilt the list.”

Needless to say, 2002 was the only year in the past 12 the restaurant wasn’t honored by the magazine.


United Country-Town and Country Realty of Grass Valley has received the Summit Club Award from franchiser United County Real Estate for outstanding sales in 2004.

Town and Country, located at 226 Mill St., finished in the top 15 percent of all United Country offices, and was ranged fourth in California.

Sales associates Roy and Sally Hahner received the company’s Pinnacle Club award for their sales achievements in 2004. The office is owned by Laura Berman.


Got local business news? Contact George Boardman at or 477-4236.

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