The Washington Wine Industry Foundation announced in a news release the election of Erik McLaughlin, Kristina Mielke van Löben Sels and Alex Oh to the foundation’s board of directors.
McLaughlin is CEO and managing partner at Metis. He has nearly three decades of experience in the fine wine and hospitality industries and in 2019 was included on Wine Business Monthly’s list of the top 50 wine industry leaders.
Mielke van Löben Sels is co-owner and winemaker of Arbor Crest Wine Cellars and van Löben Sels Cellars in Spokane. She has previous experience as associate winemaker for Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery in California.
Oh is co-owner of Aluel Cellars in Seattle. He is currently enrolled in the University of California, Davis winemaking program and is in the process of establishing a new production facility, tasting room and vineyard in the Puget Sound AVA.
The board includes: Jerry Judkins-Smith of Sphere Foods, chair, Benton City; Corina Davis of Merrill Lynch, vice chair, Seattle; Bill Shibley of Basin Pacific, secretary/treasurer, Kennewick; Brian Carter of Brian Carter Cellars, Woodinville; Paul Champoux of Lady Hawk Vineyard, Prosser; Roger Gamache of Gamache Ag Services/Gamache Vintners, Prosser; Stephanie Meier of Stoel Rives, Seattle; Sherri Swingle, consultant and strategist, Seattle; Katie Nelson of Columbia Crest, St. Michelle Wine Estates, Paterson; and Dennis Devitt of Wilbur-Ellis Co., Yakima.
The board also recognized five retiring members for their service: Jordon McEntire of Bleyhl Co-op; Simon Siegl of Coefficient Consulting; JJ Williams of Kiona Vineyards and Winery; Joe Hattrup of Hattrup Farm Inc. and Elephant Mountain Vineyards, and Jamie Peha of Auction of Washington Wines.
According to the release, the foundation has awarded more than $300,000 in grape and wine industry scholarships, funded four sabbaticals for industry professionals and secured more than $2.8 million in grants for educational tools and resources addressing risk management, sustainable best practices, winery and vineyard safety and access to bilingual resources.
—by Jonelle Mejica