Ukiah…  The Mendocino College Foundation is honored to announce the creation of the Charlie Barra Perpetual Scholarship for a Mendocino College student who graduates from Ukiah High School and is an agriculture major at Mendocino College.

Barra is often referred to as Mendocino County’s “godfather of grape growing”. Charles L. Barra, was born in 1926, Calpella, California, to first-generation Italian immigrants Antonio Barra and Maria Rovera Barra.

His career in farming and grape growing would span over 70 years, and he never missed a grape harvest.   He was a passionate advocate for Mendocino County, the California North Coast Grape Growers Association, and spent more than 20 years in public service.

He was a founding member and president of the California North Coast Grape Growers Alliance, and was instrumental in lobbying for a variety of grower causes, including varietal percentage change in wines from 51% to 75%, the first appellation designation in the United States and for pricing regulations that said a grower and winery had to agree on prices before grapes were crushed. 

Charlie’s commitment and devotion to his community went beyond just agriculture. From the early 60’s to the late 70’s, he was involved in a variety of public service positions including being an active member of the Mendocino County Planning Commission, as well as being appointed to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors by then-Governor Ronald Reagan. The results of his work to create the St. Mary’s School Foundation, and his 21-year tenure as president are still visible today.

Barra was well-known for his quick wit, twinkling eyes and impish grin.  This perpetual scholarship will honor his legacy by providing an annual $1,000 scholarship in perpetuity to an agriculture major at Mendocino College.

For more information about the scholarship program at Mendocino College, please contact Eliza Fields at 707-467-1018.

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