Archives: Board of Directors

Jess Zander

President

Jess Zander, Owner, Upper Left Craft Co.  She began her professional life in education, taking wine classes for fun before realizing that working with children wasn’t nearly as fun as wine, and switched industries.  Jess continued her studies with the International Sommelier Guild and, after a brief stint in fine dining, started working with Fidelitas in 2008.  Her first focus was on the Fidelitas Wine Club and Direct to Consumer Sales.  As the business grew, so did her roll, and Jess accepted the General Manager position in 2014.  In 2020, Jess left Fidelitas to start her own adventure helping all WA wineries.

Jess holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Washington.  A Seattle-native, Jess makes the Rainy City her home with her husband and two daughters, while traveling frequently to sunnier Red Mountain.  She loves the integration of work and home life that comes with small business, and is often seen with a kid in tow in the cellar or vineyard.  Jess enjoys cooking and entertaining at home, and will escape on a mini-vacation whenever possible.

Upper Left Craft

 

Wade Wolfe

Treasurer - Finance Committee Chair

Dr Wade Wolfe

Thurston Wolfe Winery

Thurston Wolfe is a small family winery owned by Wade Wolfe and Becky Yeaman, specializing in unique red & white table and dessert wines. Grapes are sourced from growers located in the Horse Heaven Hills and Yakima Valley at sites best suited to the varieties produced. These sites and grower relationships were developed through Wade’s extensive contacts and knowledge of the region dating back to the late 1970’s.

Started in 1987, Thurston Wolfe was first located in the historic Old City Hall on North Front Street in Yakima.  Thurston Wolfe moved to Prosser in 1996 to be more centrally located in the industry and its grape sources. A new custom designed winery was completed and occupied in January 2006 in Prosser Vintner’s Village at 588 Cabernet Court off Exit 80 of Interstate 82.

 

Ryan Pennington

Government Affairs Committee Chair

Ryan is Director of Communications for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Prior to joining the company, he served for five years as Communications Director for the Washington State Wine Commission. Prior to serving at the Commission, he was Director of Public Affairs in the Seattle office of MWW Group, one of the nation’s largest public relations firms. Ryan began his career in public policy, serving as an aide to Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA) and Governor-Elect Chris Gregoire (D-WA). He holds dual Bachelor’s Degrees in Political Science and Economics from Western Washington University and has earned the Advanced (Level 3) Award in Wines and Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. He lives in Seattle with his wife and their two children.

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is the third-largest premium wine company in the U.S. The company, located in Woodinville, has a distinguished history that dates back more than 80 years to 1934. Wines under the Ste. Michelle label were first introduced in 1967, and since that time the company has expanded its vineyard holdings to more than 3,900 acres in Washington, Oregon and California. Today its ‘String of Pearls’ wine portfolio represents owned or imported brands that demonstrate the producers’ unwavering commitment to creating distinctive, high-quality wines from authentic estate vineyards.

Martin Clubb

Past President

Marty is Managing Winemaker and Co-Owner of L’Ecole N° 41 with his wife Megan and children, Riley and Rebecca.  Marty assumed the operation of the winery from Megan’s parents, Jean and Baker Ferguson, in 1989, six years after the winery’s founding. Today Marty’s primary focus is a hands-on approach to the winery’s viticulture operation.  Along with his estate vineyards, Ferguson and Seven Hills, Marty personally works with over 30 vineyards located throughout the Columbia Valley.  He collaborates with each grower to optimally manage contracted vineyard blocks to meet the quality requirements established by the winery.  In addition, Marty is a Managing Partner with Gary and Chris Figgins (Leonetti Cellar) and Norm McKibben (Pepper Bridge Winery) in the highly acclaimed Seven Hills Vineyard and the SeVein vineyard development, home to L’Ecole’s newest Estate vineyard, Ferguson.  Marty’s ongoing dedication and commitment to our wine industry is evident in his many leadership roles.  He has served nearly 30 years on the Boards of various wine industry associations, including the Washington Wine Commission.  He is currently President and Director of the Washington Wine Institute, and Vice Chair of WineAmerica.  Marty was instrumental in the founding of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, serving as its first President.  He worked with other industry pioneers in the development of the Walla Walla Community College Center for Enology and Viticulture and continues serving in an advisory role.

L’Ecole No 41

L’Ecole N° 41 is a third generation family-owned, artisan winery located in the historic Frenchtown School depicted on our label.  Founded in 1983, we were the third winery established in the Walla Walla Valley.  We have become one of the most prominent and visible Walla Walla Valley wineries with national and international distribution.

Beau Hickman

Membership & Marketing Committee Chair

Beau Hickman is the Director of Operations for Figgins Family Wine Estates in Walla Walla.  Prior to moving to Washington, Beau was a Liquor Operations Manager for various municipalities in Minnesota.  He has over fifteen years of experience working within the three-tier distribution and has great passion for the wine industry.  Beau received his Master’s in Management from the College of St. Scholastica, and a BA from the University of Minnesota.

Figgins Family Wine Estates

A collection of brands cultivated by the Figgins Family – dedicated to growing, producing, and marketing wine & food of world-class quality, sustainability, and pedigree. Figgins Family Wine Estates brands consist of Leonetti Cellars and Figgins Walla Walla Valley.

Emily Fergestrom

Fortuity Cellars

Some call it Chance. We call it Fortuity.

Little did Lee and Emily know that a chance meeting on a cold and rainy December afternoon in Seattle would profoundly change the rest of their lives. Fast forward to today — the two are married, living in the Yakima Valley and embarking on the vintners’ life! Located in the Yakima Valley (Wash.) and established in 2017, Lee and Emily Fergestrom work closely with wine grape growers to select fruit that showcase the best of the Yakima Valley. Quality is top priority and the results are bright, fruit-driven wines – perfect for pairing with food!

Craig Leuthold

A Business graduate from Washington State University who has an entrepreneurial spirit & passion for wine.  Originally hailing from Spokane, WA, Craig and Vicki Leuthold cashed in their corporate careers and followed their dream of starting a winery to Goldendale, WA. Located at the southern tip of the Columbia Valley appellation, the area is not only an area of unsurpassed natural beauty: its warm climate, Walla Walla silt loam soil resting on remnants of Missoula flood and steady breezes make it an ideal site for growing wine grapes.

Maryhill Winery

Maryhill Winery is located in an exceptional climate for growing the highest quality wine grapes.  With warm summer days, cool nights, moderate winters and a gentle breeze, the area has been referred to as the “Mediterranean of the Northwest.” The area supports a wide variety of grapes —including several difficult-to-grow varietals often stunted in many of the state’s other growing regions. Maryhill produces more than 50 award-winning wines, showcasing the full breadth of what Washington state has to offer.  From Horse Heaven Hills to Yakima Valley and the Wahluke Slope, Maryhill works closely with select growing partners to produce wines that showcase the rich and diverse flavors of this unique growing region.

Kristina van Löben Sels

 

 

Arbor Crest Wine Cellars

In the early 1980s, Harold and Marcia Mielke began a venture that would transform the inventor’s estate into our region’s premier destination winery. After purchasing a winery in California, they relocated operations to Spokane Valley to take advantage of the budding Washington wine industry, establishing Arbor Crest Wine Cellars as the state’s 29th winery (a number that has since grown to over 980). To serve as the winery’s new headquarters, they acquired the idyllic Riblet Estate, which had been designated as a national historic landmark in 1979. The inventor’s former workshop now accommodates the Winery’s administrative offices. By 1999, the family business was being expanded to the next generation as the Mielke’s daughter, Kristina Mielke van Löben Sels, departed her position as associate winemaker at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards in Sonoma County, California, to take over as head winemaker for Arbor Crest.

Tom Dugan

Tom joined DeLille as General Manager in 2014 and became CEO in 2017.  Under his leadership DeLille has expanded production and sales, with distribution in nearly all 50 states and over 10 countries.  In 2019, DeLille repurposed the iconic former Redhook Brewery in Woodinville and built a new three-story tasting room.  Tom has also helped DeLille cement its roots on Red Mountain with the buyout of its vineyard, Grand Ciel.  He joined DeLille after leaving Bacchus Capital, a wine focused investment and advisory firm, where he was Managing Director.  Tom hails from Columbus, Ohio, is a lifelong Browns and Buckeyes fan, and is graduate of Colorado College and the London School of Economics.  He fell in love with wine after stints in the financial industry in London and New York and moved to Washington because of the world class grape growing and winemaking, as well the Cascade Range.

DeLille Cellars

DeLille Cellars is the third oldest operating winery in Woodinville, WA, founded in 1992.  Known for pioneering Bordeaux-style blends from Washington State, the winery has maintained a tradition of quality and excellence with over 600 individual 90+ ratings from leading publications.  DeLille Cellars focuses on the Red Mountain AVA and sources grapes from Washington’s most acclaimed vineyards.  The winery is recognized by notable wine critics and influencers, including Robert Parker, as one of the top producers in the state.