Board and Staff

Our Board and staff bring extensive experience, knowledge, and passion to serve the Washington wine industry.

Their focus is to build and maintain the quality and reputation of the Washington wine industry locally, nationally, and globally.

Leadership Overview

“We bring the industry together by focusing on identified needs— like scholarships and special projects – and serve as an effective fundraising vehicle to achieve those goals.”

–Carol Munro, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and former Foundation Board member

Claire Mitchell

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Claire is a partner at Stoel Rives LLP and she has spent more than a decade representing wineries and other beverage alcohol and hospitality businesses in the Pacific Northwest. She advises producers both regional and national, importers, vineyards, restaurants, hotel operators, alcohol brand owners, and others on a wide range of state and federal alcohol regulatory and licensing matters. Claire holds her B.A. in English from Villanova University, her J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law, and her LL.M. in Food and Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law.

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Jeremy Camden

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Jeremy Camden, Senior Vice President, Senior Relationship Manager, and Regional Lead at Bank of America was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Washington Wine Industry Foundation. The Foundation was founded in 2001 to focus on wine industry needs and challenges. Camden joins the Board of wine industry professionals representing growers, vintners and associated companies interested in working with the only philanthropic organization focused solely on the needs of the wine industry. Camden shared that, “I have a passion for wine and work to connect with vintners and growers to learn their business and how they make an impact.  Joining the Foundation’s Board allows me to combine my financial background and personal passion to work alongside new and old contacts ensuring the next generation of wine industry professionals have the tools for success.” Camden has a business administration degree from Washington State University majoring in finance. Over the past 15+ years, he has worked for Bank of America, J.P. Morgan and Union Bank with commercial industries including agriculture, non-profits, public and private universities, and technology.

 

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Catherine Jones

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Catherine Jones is a Vit/Specialty Crop Consultant for Wilbur Ellis. An active member in the Washington wine industry, Catherine is the Vice President of the Washington State Grape Society, and is the Grape Representative for the Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration. She has received her Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture, and Masters of Science in Soil Science, all from Washington State University.

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Cory Brown

Treasurer/Secretary

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Cory Brown has served as the CFO of Long Shadows Winery since 2016 and has over 20 years of wine industry finance & operations experience.  He began his career as founder and CEO of a natural products manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer, which he eventually sold. Since then, he has managed at a variety of small, but fast-growing companies as well as CFO/COO consulting.

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Adam Ramirez

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Adam Ramirez is the president of Coventry Vale Winery where he has worked in various capacities since 2016. Prior to his time in the wine industry, Ramirez was a business and financial analyst, utilizing his B.B.A. in Accounting and Operations Technology Management from the University of Portland.

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Craig Pacheco

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Craig Pacheco is a corporate attorney with Stoel Rives LLP. Craig has more than ten years of alcohol beverage industry experience on both the business and legal sides of the industry – experience that guides his counsel to alcohol beverage and hospitality industry clients on corporate transactions, distribution agreements and other commercial contracts, licensing, regulatory approvals, and compliance matters. Craig received his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis and his J.D. from New York University School of Law.

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Bill Shibley

Chair

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Bill Shibley recently joined Community First Bank in the Tri-Cities to help develop their ag lending program and build the portfolio.  He has over 30 years experience in agriculture, mostly in banking and management.  After graduating with a BS in agricultural and resource economics from Oregon State in 1989, he worked for John Deere as a factory representative.  He then joined Northwest Farm Credit Services in 1992 and served in a variety of roles including Wine Industry Team Leader and Regional Vice President.  In 2016 he moved to CHS-Connell Grain to be the General Manager and then to Harvest Fresh Produce in 2017 serving as General Manager.  He also worked as a Commercial/Agricultural Agent with Basin Pacific, before returning to Ag Banking.  Bill has served as the leader of both the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Pasco Chamber of Commerce and as Club Leader for Badger Mtn. 4-H Club.  He lives in West Richland with his wife Kim.

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Paul Champoux

Director

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WWIF Director Paul Champoux grew up in the hop yards of the Yakima Valley on his family’s farm. In 1979, after attending Seattle University to study Business Management, he started his career as Vineyard Manager for Ste. Michelle Vineyard. Paul was instrumental in the installation of 2,300 acres of wine grapes for Ste. Michelle. From 1989 to 1996, Paul managed other vineyards until he and his wife, Judy, purchased the vines now called Champoux Vineyards. Paul was on the Board of Directors of WAWGG for nine years and Chairman of the Board for three years. Paul has been a part of WWIF’s Board of Directors since its inception and is also Chairman of the Board of the Horse Heaven Hills Wine Growers. Paul and his wife, live on their vineyard in Alderdale, WA.

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Roger Gamache

Director

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Formerly co-owner of Gamache Vineyard, Roger Gamache is a fourth generation family farmer. Roger grew hops and juice grapes in the Yakima Valley until 1981. The following year, Roger and his brother Bob began wine grape growing, and in 2002 they started making wine as Gamache Vintners. In addition to his role as managing partner of the winery and training the 5th generation in the family business, Roger is the former chairman of the WWIF, Washington Winegrowers, Winegrape Growers of America, and Landowners Water Association. Roger is the father of three girls, and resides in Eastern Washington.

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Sherri Swingle

Director

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With more than 20 years of experience as a marketing specialist, event strategist and fundraising consultant, Sherri Swingle brings her expertise in turning great ideas and projects into successful and profitable endeavors. Sherri focuses on establishing relationships and implementing strategic change. Most recently, she served as the Executive Director for Northwest Wine Benefit Foundation, producing the nationally recognized Auction of Washington Wines — a series of events promoting Washington wines and raising funds for area beneficiaries. Previous clients and partners include Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Washington State University, Savor the Central Coast Food and Wine Festival (Visit San Luis Obispo.)

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Sara Higgins

Executive Director

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Sara has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership with a focus on planning, building infrastructure, program and project management, community outreach, and advocacy. A Washington native, the majority of that time has been engaged in the Washington wine Industry.  Sara listens to understand, and her ability to ask clarifying questions has repeatedly helped focus problem-solving energies on pressing issues.  Additionally, Sara has experience in the broadcasting industry and stage management, and she was a Marshall Memorial Fellowship finalist. She earned her BA from Seattle University (Magna Cum Laude) and is a member of AgForestry Class 42.  She resides in Wenatchee with her husband, Brian.

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