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The Washington Wine Institute serves as the political lobbying arm for the state wine industry, and works closely with the Washington Wine Commission and the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers.

In the past year, the institute secured: $300,000 from state funds for a new national branding campaign launched by the Wine Commission; $2.25 million in state construction funds for the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser; and $1 million for a Port of Walla Walla wine incubator project. The institute also helped defeat an increase in wine taxes, an area eyed by some legislators as a way to make up deficits in the state budget.

Creation of the state’s new viticulture and enology education program at Washington State University was accomplished in part by the lobbying efforts of the institute.

Robin Pollard serves as executive director of the institute and the Washington Wine Commission, both of which are headquartered in Seattle.

During the institute’s annual meeting in November, officers for 2006 and a new member of the board of directors were elected. Tim Hightower of Benton City was reelected president; Katie Alberg of Woodinville, vice president; Duane Wolmuth, Walla Walla, secretary; and Sherrye Wyatt, Ellensburg, treasurer. Joining the board as a new director is David Forsyth, Prosser.

For more information on the industry, view the Wine Commission’s Web site: www.washingtonwine.org.