Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Keeping up with People

Washington Winegrowers Association appoints new executive director

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CASHMERE - The Washington Winegrowers Association announced the appointment of Colleen Frei as the new Executive Director of the nonprofit organization, dedicated to serving winegrowers and vintners across the state.

Bringing with her a wealth of experience, Frei served as a partner at Jeffers, Danielson, Sonn & Aylward, P.S. for 18 years, specializing in agriculture, water rights, business, and succession planning. Her extensive background also includes active involvement in various community boards and state and professional groups, exhibiting a remarkable tenure in nonprofit leadership.

Shane Collins, Board Chair of Washington Winegrowers, expressed enthusiasm about Frei's appointment, stating, “Colleen’s background makes it possible for her to hit the ground running as Winegrowers continues to meet member and broader industry needs. We’re excited for her experience navigating the issues that face the wine industry, and her passion and drive to adapt to our ever-changing environment.”

In her new role, effective from Jan. 1, Frei assumes the responsibility of fostering relationships with growers, vintners, policymakers, educational institutions, and other industry partners. Her mandate encompasses providing vision and leadership to Washington Winegrowers, overseeing government relations, advocacy efforts, educational programming, strategic planning, and organizational development.

Frei expressed her delight in joining the Washington Winegrowers team, saying, “I am thrilled to join the Washington Winegrowers team to continue strengthening the wine industry. Winegrowers is at the forefront of innovation and change, engaging all sides of the wine industry with Sustainable WA™ as the first statewide certified sustainability program, the Latino Agricultural Education Program, and WineVit® convention and trade show as examples. I look forward to building on the legacy accomplished to date and am excited to be part of future success.”



Frei succeeds Vicky Scharlau, who held the position since 1999. Scharlau, while stepping down as Executive Director, will continue her association with Washington Winegrowers as of-counsel, facilitating select programs. Reflecting on her tenure, Scharlau commented, “It has truly been an honor to serve Winegrowers. The needs of the wine industry are so unique, and advocating for the Washington wine industry has been exhilarating and the greatest challenge of my professional career. Colleen’s impressive credentials and leadership skills are exactly what is needed in the next phase of Washington’s growth.”

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