Washington Winegrowers honors industry leaders

Washington Wine Industry Foundation raises $236,000 to fund scholarships at its annual Party & Auction

The Washington Winegrowers Association (Winegrowers) recognized achievements of industry leaders on Thursday, Feb. 14 at its Leadership & Legacy Luncheon during the Association’s Annual Convention & Trade Show in Kennewick, WA.  The annual awards included the Erick Hanson Memorial Grower of the Year, Industry Service, Lifetime Achievement, and the Grand Vin award.


Jim McFerran, Director of Viticulture for Wyckoff Farms and Coventry Vale Winery, received the Erick Hanson Memorial Winegrape Grower of the Year Award for demonstrated viticultural skills that provide impact in the vineyard and in the bottle.

McFerran started in the industry working for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in 1983 as grower relations representative.  He operated his own viticulture consulting company for many years and then played a leadership role with Milbrandt Vineyards before moving to Wyckoff Farms. McFerran has built a reputation as an industry expert and respected source for viticultural expertise with deeply rooted relationships throughout the industry.


Ted Baseler, former President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, received the Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize his leadership in building Washington State into one of the top wine producing regions in the world. Baseler began his career at Ste. Michelle in 1984 as director of marketing, eventually becoming chief operating officer before being named President and CEO in 2001.

Baseler was named by his peers to Vineyard and Winery Management’s list of “20 Most Admired People in the North American Wine Industry.”  Seattle Business Magazine presented him with an Executive Excellence Award and he received Southern Wine & Spirits of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his “visionary guidance, creative innovation and strong leadership skills… solidifying Washington State’s position as the second largest wine region in the U.S.”

Baseler served as chair of the Washington State Wine Commission, chair of the Wine Market Council, and as a board member of the Washington Wine Institute. He was appointed by the Governor to the Washington State University Board of Regents and helped fund and build a world class enology and viticulture infrastructure at WSU.


Rick Hamman, retired viticulture manager for Hogue Ranches, received the Industry Service Award for a lifetime of service impacting the grape and wine industry.

Rick Hamman, retired viticulture manager for Hogue Ranches, received the Industry Service Award for a lifetime of service impacting the grape and wine industry. Hamman has worked for, with, and in, the industry since the early 1980s. He was the first state viticulturist in the Colorado wine industry before making his way to Washington.

At Hogue Ranches, Hamman was responsible for the quality of 5,000-plus tons of wine grapes delivered to Hogue Cellars, Pacific Rim, Wahluke Wine Company, Ste. Michelle, Thurston Wolfe, Hedges and Mercer Estates Winery. He has served as chairman of the Wine Advisory Committee (the research arm of the Washington Wine Commission), as chairman of the Washington Department of Agriculture’s grapevine advisory committee and has served on the Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration.


Charlie Hoppes, owner and winemaker of Fidelitas Winery, was awarded the Grand Vin Award for making a significant impact in the winery, on wine and branding. Hoppes began his career in the wine industry in the 1980s and first worked for Mike Januik at the Snoqualmie/Langguth winery and then became a member of the winemaking team at Chateau Ste. Michelle.

In 1993, Hoppes became the Head Red Winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle’s newest facility at the time: Canoe Ridge near Paterson. During his time at Chateau Ste. Michelle, he worked with the Antinori family on the initial vintages produced at Col Solare Winery. In 2007, he and his family purchased land in the Red Mountain AVA and planted a small vineyard. Hoppes continues to serve as a consulting winemaker to many wineries throughout the state allowing his legacy on the quality of Washington wine to continue.


The Washington Wine Industry Foundation raised more than $237,000 at its annual Party & Auction on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at the Toyota Center in Kennewick, WA.   The event, held in conjunction with the annual Washington Winegrowers Convention, raises money to fund scholarships for qualifying students pursuing studies in viticulture, enology, and other wine-related studies in Washington State.

To date, the Foundation has distributed more than $263,000 in scholarships to 185 students. It has also helped fund the WSU Teaching Vineyard and a seat in the popular Washington AgForestry Leadership Program.

The Party & Auction drew more than 430 wine industry movers and shakers to support the Foundation. The event featured a custom, chef-designed dinner, music, wine from premier state wineries, and silent and live auctions with items including international cruises and trips, exclusive winemaker dinners with industry legends, magnums of Washington wine, and much, much more.


During the event, the Foundation released its second annual “Collaboration Series.”  The “collaboration” showcases partnerships between grower and vintner. Each year a grower and vintner produce 20 cases of unique wine offered exclusively at the Party & Auction.

This year’s collaboration featured grower Mike Sauer of Red Willow Vineyard and winemaker Jason Gorski of DeLille Cellars. The bottles and design were donated by Shara Green of Universal Packaging and Jim Carey of Doubleknot Creative.

The Party & Auction was sponsored by: Inland Desert Nursery, Wilbur-Ellis, Clifton Larson Allen, Stoel Rives LLP, Four Feathers Wine Estates, Sixto, Cairdeas Winery, Balboa Winery, Andrew Will, Maryhill Winery, Treveri Cellars, and Peha Promotions.

Annual Partners included: Inland Desert Nursery, Wilbur-Ellis, Banner Bank, Bleyhl Co-Op, Coventry Vale Winery, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Moss Adams, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Vine Tech Equipment, Clifton Larson Allen, Four Feathers Wine Estates, Mercer Ranches, Metis – an Exvere Company, and Stoel Rives LLP.