In the new year, the Washington Winegrowers Association will welcome a new executive director. 

Colleen Frei
Colleen Frei

Colleen Frei, an attorney with deep experience in agriculture, water rights and succession planning, will take over leadership of the advocacy organization as longtime director Vicky Scharlau steps back and moves to a special projects role, according to a press release from the association. 

“Colleen’s background makes it possible for her to hit the ground running as Winegrowers continues to meet member and broader industry needs,” Shane Collins, the association’s board chair, said in a statement. “We’re excited for her experience navigating the issues that face the wine industry and her passion and drive to adapt to our ever-changing environment.”

For her part, Frei said she looks forward to building on the industry’s efforts around sustainability, education and innovation. 

Scharlau, who has served as executive director since 1999, called her time with the association an honor.

“The needs of the wine industry are so unique, and advocating for the Washington wine industry has been exhilarating and the greatest challenge of my professional career,” she said. “Colleen’s impressive credentials and leadership skills are exactly what is needed in the next phase of Washington’s growth.”

by Kate Prengaman