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San Luis Obispo Vintners Association's new director pores over goals

Heather Muran is San Luis Obispo Vintners Association’s new executive director.
Heather Muran is San Luis Obispo Vintners Association’s new executive director.

The new San Luis Obispo Vintners Association executive director, Heather Muran of Pismo Beach, started work this week by meeting the group’s 67 members, including representatives from about 30 wineries, to hear their goals.

“I’ve been passionate about the wine industry since I’ve lived here,” Muran said. “That’s actually one of the things that drew me to this area.”

She fills the post vacated by Becky Gray, who moved to MUST, a new local fundraising nonprofit. She was SLO Vintners’ executive director for six years while membership nearly tripled.

Since 2007, Muran has been national and international marketing manager for Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes in San Luis Obispo. She also worked at Coast Hills Federal Credit Union and the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce as member services director.

At Laetitia Vineyard & Winery in Arroyo Grande, she worked in the tasting room. Her husband, Patrick Muran, is assistant winemaker at Niner Wine Estates in Paso Robles.

“My experience is really with public relations and social media,” she said. “We definitely want to get the word out. I think we’re kind of a hidden gem.”

In December, the president of the board of directors, Mike Sinor, said SLO Vintners is focusing on attracting recognition and associating its wines with the “SLO lifestyle.” Sinor could not be reached Thursday.

“We are looking forward to a very successful year,” he said in a news release announcing Muran’s appointment, “and know Heather will continue the momentum in promoting the association.”

Her priorities include a unified message, promoting SLO Vintners’ two annual events and highlighting the uncommon aspects of the appellations it covers.

“There are a lot of really unique varietals that a lot of the vintners and growers have planted here that you won’t see in other areas of California,” Muran said. “What we’re doing here is so fun and different and distinct — and we want to showcase that.”

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