Month: April 2023

Washington State Wine Commission Board Positions

Open Positions on the Washington State Wine Commission – Letters of Interest For Producers and Distributor Seats Due April 28

Attention:  Washington State Wine Industry

The Washington State Wine Commission was created by the Washington State Legislature in 1987 to promote the growth of the wine industry. Its mission is to drive growth of Washington State Wine through Marketing, Communication, and Viticulture & Enology Research.

The Commission was constituted under the Washington State Department of Agriculture and is governed by an appointed board of commissioners.

The Commission board is composed of 12 voting members and one non-voting member who serve three-year terms:

  1. five voting members shall be growers
  2. five voting members shall be wine producers
  3. one voting member shall represent the director of the State Department of Agriculture
  4. one voting member shall be a wine distributor
  5. one non-voting member is a producer of non-vinifera fruit wine

On June 30th, 2023 the terms of four members of the Wine Commission board will expire: two producers and two growers. In addition, one board position is vacant and will be filled during this process. Candidates must meet qualification requirements as outlined below.

Appointments [RCW 15.88.050(1)]:

The director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture shall appoint the members of the commission. In making such appointments, the director shall take into consideration recommendations made by the growers’ association and the wine institute as the persons recommended for appointment as members of the commission. The director usually makes appointment selections in early May for a July 1, 2023 start to the 3-year term.

Positions expiring on June 30th are currently occupied by:

  1. Position 1: Producer over 1M gallons
  2. Position 6: Small grower (less than 50 acres), who may also produce and sell wine
  3. Position 11: Wholesaler
  4. Position 12: Non-vinifera producer (non-voting seat) (this can be mead, fruit wines, cider above 8.5% abv)


Pursuant to RCW 15.88.050, the Washington Winegrowers Association sends grower recommendations and the Washington Wine Institute sends wine producer and distributor recommendations to the Director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture for appointment consideration. The Director usually communicates appointments in May for a July 1, 2023 start to the 3-year term.

If you are an interested, qualifying wine producer or distributor, please submit your letter of interest and biographical information by Friday, April 28th to WWI’s Executive Director, Josh McDonald, at

If you are an interested, qualifying grower, please submit your letter of interest and biographical information by Friday, April 14th to the Washington Winegrowers Association Executive Director, Vicky Scharlau, at

Candidates will be interviewed by the Association responsible for each open seat (reflected above) and recommendations made to the Director of Agriculture.

The ideal candidate will:

  1. Meet RCW 15.88.030(4) requirements here.
  2. Support the mission of the Wine Commission
  3. Willing and eagerly fulfill duties and responsibilities of a Commissioner (see below)
  4. Meet or exceed key qualifications (see below)

Potential candidates must meet the requirements, as outlined in the Commissioner Duties and Responsibilities and meet Mandatory Qualifications, both outlined below. Candidates will necessarily need to be supportive of the Vision of the Washington State Wine Commission and help to advance the Commission’s Mission; to raise awareness and demand for Washington State Wine through marketing and education while supporting viticulture and enology research to drive industry growth.

Commissioner Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Active involvement in commissioner board meetings and committee meetings through regular attendance and engagement in discussions. Serve on at least one committee (Marketing, Communications, Finance, Research) and participate in Commission events, activities and programs.
  2. Lead with intention, inclusiveness and equity.
  3. Represent and speak for the broad, diverse Washington wine industry, not for one’s own business nor any particular subset of the industry.
  4. Have a clear understanding of the mission of the organization and be able to articulate its purpose and structure to the industry and general public.
  5. Serve as an Ambassador for the Commission, educating the broader constituency about the Commission’s strategic direction and programming.
  6. Be available to serve on committees and participate in Commission events, activities and programs.
  7. Be knowledgeable about state agency governance rules and regulations, i.e., Open Public Meetings Act, State Ethics laws, wine and grape assessment process, etc.
  8. Have a desire and openness to learn and adapt to new ways of thinking as the wine industry grows.

Mandatory Qualifications [RCW 15.88.030(4)]:

Each member of the Commission must be a citizen and resident of the state and over the age of twenty-one years.  Each member must be engaged in that phase of the growing or wine producing industry that he or she is appointed to represent, and during his or her term of office must derive a substantial portion of income from, or have a substantial investment in the growing of vinifera grapes or the production of wine from vinifera grapes as an owner, lessee, partner, or a stockholder owning at least 10% of the voting stock in a corporation engaged in the growing of vinifera grapes or wine production from vinifera grapes; or the manager or executive officer of such a corporation.  These qualifications apply throughout each member’s term of office.

Desired qualifications:

  1. In-depth knowledge of viticulture and/or enology and/or the wine business at large. Global perspective of the wine business desired.
  2. A high level of integrity.
  3. A collegial and collaborative approach to decision making and problem solving.
  4. Strong leadership and management skills.
  5. Strong communication skills.
  6. Solid understanding of, and a strong belief in the importance of V&E research.
  7. A strong grasp of marketing principles and tactics.
  8. Strong understanding of the various wine marketing channels, including trade, media, distribution, and the consumer.
  9. Extensive contacts and relationships throughout the industry and in the broader community (both within Washington and beyond).
  10. A strong record of participation or involvement in industry activities

Current Board of Commissioners includes:

  1. John Ware, Rocky Pond Winery
  2. Todd Newhouse, Upland Vineyards
  3. Ryan Pennington, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
  4. Sadie Drury, North Slope Management
  5. Dick Boushey, Boushey Vineyards
  6. Anna Mosier, House of Smith
  7. Kade Casciato, Ciel du Cheval
  8. Shylah Alfonso, Pomum Cellars
  9. Courtney Elbe, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits
  10. Tom Dugan, DeLille Cellars
  11. Lacey Lybecker, Cairdeas Winery
  12. Rianne Perry, Washington State Department of Ag (WSDA rep.)