Butch Milbrandt and his brother Jerry have 2,000 acres of wine grapes and supply 30 wineries. (Courtesy of Washington Wine Commission)
Three new members have been appointed to the Washington State Wine Commission’s board. Butch Milbrandt of Milbrandt Vineyards, Mattawa, and Brenton Roy of Oasis Farms, Prosser, have been appointed to grower positions on the 13-member board. Jim van Löben Sels of Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, Spokane, has been appointed to a wine-producer position. Wine producer Dan Wampfler of Dunham Cellars, Walla Walla, has been reappointed to the board.
Milbrandt began planting wine grapes in 1997 on the Wahluke Slope with his brother Jerry. Today they have 2,000 acres of vineyard and supply grapes to almost 30 Washington wineries. Some of their grapes are used by their Wahluke Wine Company, which was founded in 2005. The brothers launched their Milbrandt label in 2007.
Roy graduated from Gonzaga University, Spokane, in 1995 and four years later assumed a leadership role on his family’s fourth-generation farm, which produces wine grapes, hops, tree fruits, and berries. He is past chair of the Washington Wine Grape Growers Association and chair of the Wine Grape Growers of America.
Van Löben Sels graduated from the University of California, Davis, in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. In 1999, his wife Kristina Mielke-van Löben Sels became head winemaker at her family’s winery, Arbor Crest. Jim is general manager and oversees the 75-acre estate.
Kent Waliser of Sagemoor Vineyards, Pasco, has been re-elected chair of the commission for the coming year with Chris Sparkman of Sparkman Cellars, Woodinville, as vice chair. Martin Johnson from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in Woodinville was re-elected treasurer.
Retiring from the commission are Patricia Gelles of Klipsun Vineyards, Benton City; Steve Newhouse of Upland Vineyards, Sunnyside; and Jay Soloff of DeLille Cellars, Woodinville.