WineAmerica elects a board, discusses policy and politics


The event included an update on the organization’s membership, government relations activities and the 2022 National Economic Impact Study.

The annual fall retreats were held at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, WA on November 14-15. (Photo provided)

WASHINGTON — WineAmerica, the National Association of American Wineries, recently appointed new members to its Board of Directors and discussed its outlook for 2023 in Washington.

The annual fall retreats, this year held at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, Washington, November 14-15, also included an update on the organization’s membership, government relations activities and the 2022 National Economic Impact Study.

“It was an excellent and productive meeting that reflects the continued evolution of WineAmerica,” said WineAmerica President Jim Trezise, ​​who served on the organization’s Board and Executive Committee for 25 years before becoming President in 2017. “The new Board members bring new perspectives and energy combined with the dedication and experience of long-standing directors.

New directors elected by the membership in October are Michelle Kaufman of Stoller Wine Group (OR), Edward Matawczyk of Constellation Brands (NY, CA, WA) and Erica Paolicelli of Three Brothers Winery (NY).

WineAmerica’s board structure reflects its national scope. The four largest states (California, New York, Oregon, Washington) each have one representative, with California receiving the second due to the size of the industry. There are also several regional locations (Northeast, Southeast, Great Lakes, Midwest, and Rockies), as well as slots that can be filled by industry representatives from anywhere.

Current officers:

  • Debra Dommen, Chairman of the Board, Treasury Wine Estates (California).
  • Scott Osborne, Fox Run Vineyards (New York), Vice Chairman
  • Dana Huber, Huber Vineyards (Indiana, Great Lakes), treasurer
  • Marty Club, L’Ecole no. 41 (WA), former chairman

Other members of the executive committee include:

  • Moya Schatz Dolsby, Idaho Wine Commission
  • Ryan Pennington, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates (WA, CA, OR), Government Affairs Committee Chair

Additional Directors:

  • Mario Mazza, Mazza Vineyards (Pennsylvania, Northeast Region)
  • Dave Fassell, Duplin Winery (North Carolina, South Carolina, Southeast Region)
  • Chris Brundett, William Chris Vineyards (Texas, Midwest Region)
  • Garrett Portra, Carlson Vineyards (Colorado, Rocky Mountain Region)
  • George Christie, Saini Vineyards (California)
  • Marie-Chantal Dalezet, Chateau Chantal (Michigan)
  • Michelle Kaufman, Stoller Wine Group (OR)
  • Max McFarland, Mac’s Creek Vineyards (New)
  • Edward Matowczyk, Constellation Brands
  • Erica Paolicelli, Three Brothers Winery (New York)

The Board also salutes the distinguished service of three individuals who have served WineAmerica for years or even decades: Doug Caskey, Director of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Council; Jerry Douglas, former vice president of Biltmore Estates Winery (NC); and Jenny Brooks Hoeck of Brooks Wines (OR), who recently served as Chair and Vice Chair.

The conference also focused on WineAmerica’s membership initiatives, WineAmerica’s 2022 wine industry study on the national economy, midterm elections and WineAmerica’s 2023 priorities.

Vice President of Development Tara Good provided an update on WineAmerica’s membership, which includes nearly 500 winery supporters, associations and suppliers from across the country. In addition, the new system it is developing will ensure more frequent contact with members while reducing the staff time required to do so, starting with a membership drive in January.

President Jim Trezise gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Economic Impact Study and how it could be used not only in Washington, but in each individual state. A study presented to Congress in September found that the wine industry’s impact will top $276 billion in 2022, and that most key metrics — jobs, wages, total production — have grown significantly since 2017, when a similar study was conducted. , also by John Dunham & Associates. WineAmerica will be heavily promoting the new study when the new Congress convenes in January.

Executive Vice President and Director of Government Affairs Michael Kaiser reviewed the current status of various legislative and regulatory initiatives, WineAmerica’s involvement in them, and the outlook for the remainder of this year and through 2023.

The midterm elections, once projected as a giant “Red Wave” with about 60 House seats going to Republicans, ended in a cliffhanger with the GOP winning a slim majority. Meanwhile, the Senate will remain in Democratic control, which could even increase depending on the results of the Georgia runoff election in December.

Divided government usually breeds legislative gridlock, and that seems even more likely given the toxic partisanship infecting Washington these days. However, one thing we do know is that on wine-related issues, the Democratic-controlled Senate is a huge bonus because of the number of strong supporters, from Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) to Sens. Ron Wyden (OR, Chairman Finance Committee), Debbie Stabenow (Michigan, Chair of the Agriculture Committee) and many other senators from major wine-producing states. Certainly, they tend to make the audience much more receptive to our questions than their counterparts on the other side.

Regardless, WineAmerica will continue to work nonpartisan with lawmakers from both parties and remind them that wine is produced in all 50 states and a significant part of their state economies.

WineAmerica website contains a wealth of information about the organization and the industry, as well as an invitation to sign up for a free weekly e-newsletter (WineAmerica Perspectives) from President Jim Trezis. The organization also welcomes membership from US wineries, associations and industry suppliers.

Wine America is the National Association of American Wineries, headquartered in Washington, DC, with a focus on public policy advocacy at the federal level to protect and improve the business climate for the American wine industry. The organization also includes the State and Regional Association Advisory Council (SRAAC), which is comprised of winery trade association leaders from across the country and represents more than 400 members from 40 states.

– WineAmerica WineAmerica elects a board, discusses policy and politics

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