Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Washington Wine Commission Board

I'm always complaining about the Washington Wine Commission. I just got an email from the Family Wineries of Washington State telling me that there are three positions open on the WWC board. Okay, I am ready to serve!

In the past, the Washington Wine Institute interviewed candidates and recommended them to the State Agriculture Director who is in charge of making the appointments.

My wife and Cathy Preston went through this. At the time there were no women on the WWC board and either of them (both winery principals) would have been a good candidate….except, the WWI already had preselected the candidate before the interview. Half the board walked out during my wife's interview leaving a couple of people to ask questions. It was very degrading. The chosen candidate? A first-year male employee of some club member's winery. Have I mentioned the Washington wine industry is clubby? So, the WWC commission continued as an all male chauvinist organization. (They now have two women on the board, although one is non-voting.)

Back to running for the board. Positions 1, 11, and 12 are open.

"Position One: The Position One appointee must represent a winery producing not less than one million gallons of Washington wine annually. This is a particularly important position given that RCW 15.88.100 potentially gives the Position One member a vote that outweighs all other Commission members votes combined."

I guess that position is reserved for Ste. Mickey himself. It makes one wonder if the WWC isn't just a marketing arm of Ste. Mickey's that we help pay for.

I guess I'll go for position 11.

'Position Eleven: The Position Eleven Member in accordance with RCW 15.88.030 "shall be a wine distributor licensed under RCW 66.24.200."'

Well, I am not a distributor, so I don't qualify here either. My assumption is that one of Ste. Mickey's distributors gets this job, so the ducks can be kept in a line.

Okay, I'll go for position 12.

'Position Twelve: The Position Twelve member is a non-voting member of the Wine Commission that must, in accordance with RCW 15.88.030 represent "a wine producer in this state whose principal wine or wines are produced from fruit other than vinifera grapes." It is not clear to us why the Position Twelve fruit wine producer has no vote while the Position Eleven non-producing wholesaler's representative has a vote, but that is the current law."'

Damn, I don't qualify there either. Why would anyone volunteer to serve on a board with no vote or say? In fact, it looks like the whole board is just a sham, since one member controls the whole board.

Well, Mr. Gregutt, you asked how to improve the WWC. It looks to be an impossible task.

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