Seattle, WA — This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Washington State Wine Commission. In 1987, the Washington State legislature created this government agency with the intent of giving a voice to every winery and wine grape grower, and to champion the marketing goals of the Washington State wine industry. The legislature had the foresight to recognize that “the production of wine grapes in the state is a new and important segment of Washington agriculture which has potential for greater contribution to the economy of the state if it undergoes healthy development.”
Since that tipping point, the state’s wine industry has seen tremendous growth in terms of numbers, sophistication, and setting standards of quality recognized globally, growing from around 40 wineries in the late 1980’s to nearly 750 licensed wineries today. The Commission will celebrate their 25-year milestone by honoring 25 members of the Washington State wine industry who have been in business for 25 years or more through a series of grower and vintner profiles. These essays aim to highlight a diverse cross-section of industry veterans that helped shape the past quarter century of Washington State wine. (Stay tuned for more about the honorees as the announcements are made public.)
The Commission has also announced an expanded campaign for Washington Wine Month and the Washington Wine Restaurant Awards to take place in March 2012. Washington Wine Month will have a dedicated website promoting the many and varied wine promotions going on in restaurants, retail outlets, and winery tasting rooms throughout the month.
Additionally, the Auction of Washington Wines will celebrate 25 years of charitable giving from the Washington wine industry. The Auction, overseen by The Commission and aided with contributions from scores of organizations and sponsors including Washington Tasting Room Magazine, is considered the region’s most prestigious charity wine event with over $26 million donated to uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital and an additional portion given to the Washington Wine Education Foundation.