The Washington Winegrowers presented their annual industry awards on Feb. 14 in Kennewick, Washington.
Rick Hamman, retired viticulture manager for Hogue Ranches, received the Industry Service Award.
Hamman was the first state viticulturist in the Colorado wine industry before moving to Washington, and at Hogue Ranches was responsible for the quality of more than 5,000 tons of wine grapes delivered to numerous wineries. He has served as chairman of the Wine Advisory Committee, the research arm of the Washington Wine Commission, and as chairman of the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s grapevine advisory committee.
Charlie Hoppes, owner and winemaker of Fidelitas, was awarded the Grand Vin Award.
Hoppes began in the wine industry in the 1980s, first working for Mike Januik at Snoqualmie/Langguth, before joining Chateau Ste. Michelle’s winemaking team, where he was named head red winemaker in 1993. In 2007, he and his family purchased land in Washington’s Red Mountain appellation and planted a small vineyard.
Hoppes continues to serve as a consulting winemaker to many wineries throughout the state.
Hamman and Hoppes were unable to attend the event.
Jim McFerran, director of viticulture for Wyckoff Farms and Coventry Vale Winery, received the Erick Hanson Memorial Winegrape Grower of the Year Award.
McFerran started in the industry working for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in 1983 in grower relations, then operated his own viticulture consulting company for years before moving to a leadership role with Milbrandt Vineyards and then Wyckoff Farms. McFerran has built a reputation as an industry viticultural expert.
McFerran thanked his longtime colleagues in the industry who allowed him to share and create “think-tanks” that enabled everyone to be inspired and improve every day.
“I encourage all the younger generation in the crowd to be fervent and find a vineyard, walk the same rows, every year, for your entire career, vintage after vintage, because you can compare, you can see change, you can see evolution,” he said.
Ted Baseler, former president and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates who retired last year, received the Lifetime Achievement award for his leadership and advocacy in building Washington into one of the top wine-producing regions in the world.
Baseler began at Ste. Michelle in 1984 as director of marketing, eventually becoming chief operating officer before being named president and CEO in 2001. His peers named him to Vineyard and Winery Management’s list of the 20 most admired people in the North American wine industry.
He served as chair of the Washington Wine Commission and the Wine Market Council and as a board member of the Washington Wine Institute.
Former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed Baseler to the Washington State University Board of Regents in 2009, where he played an advocacy role in building the university’s enology and viticulture programs. Gov. Jay Inslee reappointed him in 2014.
In prepared remarks delivered by video, Baseler thanked Washington Winegrowers for the honor and noted Washington’s potential for industry growth. Now at some 60,000 acres of wine grapes, the state has the potential — with its premium land — to grow to 200,000 acres, “which would be larger than California.”
Several students also earned Washington Wine Industry Foundation scholarships: Crystal Kampling, Noel Perez, Kelsey Itameri and Austin Morrell.
—by Shannon Dininny
Correction: As originally posted, this story incorrectly reported the awards banquet was held on Wednesday, Feb. 13, and incorrectly identified the scholarship organization as the Washington Wine Institute. Good Fruit Grower regrets the errors.