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.
“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
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.Hide
Vice ChairRead more
Stephanie Meier is an Associate in the Corporate Group of Stoel Rives, LLP. Stephanie focuses her practice in the area of food and beverage law, advising alcohol beverage industry clients in all aspects of state and federal licensing and permitting, and post-licensing regulatory compliance. She also works in local and national marketing promotions, state and federal label and packaging compliance, tax issues, contracts, and distribution issues. Stephanie is a graduate of Seattle University School of Law (J.D., 2008, cum laude), Seattle University School of Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL Certificate, 2000), Whitman College (B.A., 1998) and attended IES Freiburg/Universität in Frieburg, Germany (1997.)Hide
Treasurer / SecretaryRead more
Erik McLaughlin is CEO and Managing Partner at METIS Advisors. With offices in Oregon and Washington, Metis provides strategic consulting, financial planning, and M&A advisory services to the adult beverage and hospitality industries throughout the Pacific Northwest. In 2019 Erik was named one of the Top 50 Wine Industry Leaders by Wine Business Monthly.
With nearly three decades of experience in the fine wine and hospitality industries, Erik provides the unique industry specific insight, connections, and operational expertise to maximize value and guide clients through successful transactions.
Erik has been involved in dozens of capital transactions in his career, including the recent sales of Owen Roe Winery and Vineyards, Abeja Winery and Inn, Seven Hills Winery, Walla Walla Vintners, Firesteed Winery, Flynn Vineyard, Tamarack Cellars, Conner Lee Vineyard, and the acquisition of the Red Lion Walla Walla for redevelopment as the boutique hotel The Finch. Previously, Erik served in senior management roles for Seven Hills Winery, Corliss Wine Estates, Willamette Valley Vineyards, and Cost Plus World Market. He also previously owned and operated a collection of high-end, award winning restaurants and has consulted for clients in the wine and hospitality industries for two decades.
Erik has been extensively involved in industry groups including the Oregon Wine Board, Washington Wine Commission, Idaho Wine Commission, Walla Walla Wine Alliance, Willamette Valley Wineries Association, Washington Winegrowers Association, and the American Association of Wine Economists. Erik serves on the steering committees for both the Beverage Business Management Program at Washington State University and the Wine Studies program at Linfield College. He has served on numerous public and private boards including currently serving as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Walla Walla and on the Board of Directors for the non-profit winery Vital Wines. Erik has taught and lectured widely on wine and the business of wine including at The Wine Industry Financial Symposium, The Oregon Wine Symposium, the Washington Winegrowers Convention, and the London Wine Fair. He is a frequent guest instructor at both Linfield College’s Wine Studies program and the Institute for Viticulture and Enology at Walla Walla Community College.
Erik graduated cum laude from Linfield College in the Willamette Valley and is a fourth generation native of the Pacific Northwest. Erik lives in Walla Walla with his wife and their four children. In his spare time he enjoys skiing, coaching youth sports, and sharing great wine with friends.Hide
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.Hide
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.Hide
Since his arrival on the Washington State wine scene in 1980 when there were just 16 wineries, Brian continues to influence this industry which now boasts more than 750 wineries and is growing weekly. His involvement as winemaker, consultant, and guide to dozens of wineries has helped elevate the Washington wine industry from a regional industry to an international powerhouse.
Brian’s early curiosity about microbes led him to study microbiology at Oregon State University where he discovered his appreciation for the wines of Oregon. After two years at the University of California-Davis School of Enology, Brian honed his winemaking skill with stints at esteemed California wineries Mount Eden Vineyard and Chateau Montelena. But the Pacific Northwest beckoned, and Brian returned to join early Washington winemaker Paul Thomas Winery, where his skills and artistic touch marked him as a winemaker to watch. Since then his wines have garnered many awards, and this string of accomplishments led him to pursue a career as a consulting winemaker.
Brian was twice touted as “Winemaker of the Year” by Washington Magazine, and he is the only three-time recipient of the Pacific Northwest Enological Society’s Grand Prize. Often recognized by his peers, Brian was the Honored Vintner at the 2007 Auction of Washington Wines, and he received the prestigious Industry Service Award from the Washington Winegrowers Association.Hide
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.)Hide
Having grown up in California’s Central Valley, Dennis’ love of winegrapes and agriculture runs deep. With his B.S. from Fresno State University, and an M.S. from Sonoma State University, he went on to manage large vineyards within California for over 25 years, most of those being with Gallo Vineyards located in Sonoma County. After numerous visits to Eastern Washington and developing a passion for its wines, Dennis accepted a position with Wilbur-Ellis as their first statewide viticulturist. With the commitment Wilbur-Ellis has historically led in the tree fruit industry within Eastern Washington, Dennis is here to bring the same commitment to the grape growing industry. He looks forward to the opportunity of being part of the Foundation as they continue to lift up and champion Washington wines and their growers.Hide
Corina Davis, CFP®, CPWA® ®, is a proud graduate of University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Business. She obtained her CFP® certification, a designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Boards of Standards, Inc. In addition, Corina also holds the Certified Private Wealth Advisor® ® designation. Corina has worked in the Financial Services industry for over 15 years. She is an active member of Seattle Children’s Legacy Advisors. She currently resides in north Seattle with her husband and three children. She enjoys playing tennis, running and spending time with loved ones.
“I am excited to be joining the WWIF board to create awareness and education around the rapidly growing Washington wine industry and raise further support for new investments and improvements for individuals currently operating in the industry or individuals interested in becoming the future talent in the wine industry.” -CorinaHide
Katie Nelson is the Senior Director of Winemaking for Columbia Crest, a Ste. Michelle Wine Estates winery.Hide
Alex Oh is Director, Corporate Counsel at Juno Therapeutics, a Bristol-Myers Squibb company. Prior to joining Juno, Alex was a partner in the Seattle office of Stoel Rives LLP, an AmLaw 200 law firm.
Alex is also Co-Founder and General Counsel of Aluel Cellars, a privately-held winery with a tasting room in Seattle. Aluel Cellars was named “New Business of the Year” in 2018 by the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA). He is currently enrolled in the Winemaking Program at UC Davis, and is in the process of building out a new production facility, second tasting room, and vineyard in the Puget Sound AVA.
Alex has extensive experience serving on non-profit boards and organizations, including as Immediate Past President (2016-2017), President (2015-2016), President-Elect (2014-2015), Secretary (2012-2014), and the Board of Directors (2011-2017), of the QLaw Association of Washington, the statewide LGBTQ bar association of Washington. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the GSBA and the Asian Bar Association of Washington (ABAW), as well as Chair of the Capitol Hill Business Alliance (CHBA).
In 2019, Alex was selected as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (Washington), Chambers USA (Intellectual Property). He has also been named Best Lawyers Under 40 by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) (2018), Top 40 Young Lawyers by the American Bar Association (ABA) (2016), and Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association (Lavender Law) (2016).
Alex earned his B.S. in Neurobiology and B.A. in Communication from the University of Washington, M.S. in Biotechnology from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School.Hide
Kristina van Löben Sels
Kristina van Löben Sels is the owner and winemaker of Arbor Crest Wine Cellars and van Löben Sels Cellars in Spokane WA. Before coming to the northwest 20 years ago, Kristina received her degree in Fermentation Science from UC Davis where she spent a short time at the Mondavi Winery and then spent many years as Associate Winemaker for Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg, CA.
With over 27 years of winemaking experience in California and Washington, Kristina’s love of winemaking has inspired her to share her passion and give back to the industry. She most enjoys giving back by mentoring those that are wanting to get into the profession. Kristina believes this is the foundation to creating a strong and cohesive industry.
Kristina also devotes her time and energy to wine education. She loves to host many wine education classes such as Wine Blending 101 and Train Your Brain Seminars at the Arbor Crest Estate including a weekly Wine 101 radio spot that gives listeners down-to-earth wine tips.
When Kristina is not making wine, she loves to spend time with her family snow skiing, running, hiking and enjoying the outdoors!Hide
Executive DirectorRead more
Since 2001, Vicky Scharlau has served as Executive Director of the Washington Wine Industry Foundation which was created to be the ‘Community Foundation’ of the wine industry. Scharlau has nearly 40 years of experience developing and managing organizations, projects and programs across the U.S. and Mexico. Her skills include non-profit association and project management, non-profit board training, facilitation, strategic planning, organization and project budgeting, grant writing and managing, and communications. She has demonstrated an ability to implement projects and programs using sound and effective management practices, on time and on budget. Scharlau has a successful track record because she takes the time to identify and understand goals and expectations—and she is an expert planner. Her range and depth of professional experience have earned her a reputation as a leader, strategist, advisor, and communications specialist. She has leveraged partnerships to support education, sustainability and growth, winning over $3,000,000 in grants benefiting the wine industry in the Northwest. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy & Governance and a B.S. in Agricultural Journalism and Agricultural Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.Hide