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Friday, Feb. 06, 2009

WAWGG issues awards, welcomes new officers

KENNEWICK -- The Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers announced the election of new officers, board members and award recipients Feb. 6 during its annual conference at the Three Rivers Convention Center and Toyota Center in Kenneick.

Executive director Vicky Scharlau said the conference drew a record attendance of more than 1,300 growers and vintners from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Idaho, California, Michigan and New York.

Elected 2009 WAWGG Officers:

Brenton Roy of Oasis Farms in Prosser, Chair; Todd Newhouse of Upland Vineyards in Outlook, Vice Chair; and Lynne Chamberlain of Spofford Station Vineyards in Walla Walla, Secretary/Treasurer.

Elected 2009 new WAWGG Board members:

Leif Olsen of Olsen Vineyards in Prosser; Scott Williams of Kiona Vineyards Winery in Benton City; and Julia Kock of Klipsun Vineyards in West Richland.

Retiring WAWGG Board members:

Mike Means of Canoe Ridge Vineyard in Walla Walla, Paul Champoux of Champoux Vineyards in Prosser, and Jim Holmes of The Ancora Estate in West Richland.

2008 Industry Service Award

Each year since 1995, WAWGG has selected individuals worthy of special notice by their peers for important service to the wine grape industry.

Winner: Bob Stevens,interim director, WSU IAREC at Prosser

2008 Erick Hanson Memorial Wine Grape Grower of the Year Award

Erick Hanson, general manager of Sagemoor Farms in Pasco for more than a decade, died in 1998 of cancer. Hanson managed one of Washington's largest vineyards, was a respected manager and a friend to the wine grape industry. This annual award is a tribute to him and his expertise.

Winner: Steve Newhouse, Upland Vineyards, Snipes Mountain

Newhouse is a 1,200-acre specialty crop farmer including wine grapes and sells to DeLille, Chinook, Mercer, Ste. Michelle, Hogue, Vin du Lac, Thurston Wolfe and others. Newhouse was the first grower in Washington to successfully graft one variety onto another with a 95% success rate. He has been planting wine grapes since 1973 and now has more than 600 acres. Newhouse served as WAWGG chairman from 1995-1996. He has four sons and works tirelessly to keep his all-family operation together and thriving.

2008 Lifetime Achievement Award

This award honors those who have dedicated their lives to developing, improving and promoting the Washington wine and grape industry.

Winner: Fred Artz, Artz Vineyards on Red Mountain

Klipsun, the first vineyard Fred Artz ever planted and managed has been named one the top 25 vineyards in the world by "Wine and Spirits" magazine. In addition to his own vineyard, he planted nearly all of the vineyards on Red Mountain including the first Hedges winery vineyard, the Shaw vineyard, the Chandler Reach vineyard, the Le Coye vineyard and he consulted on the Alder Creek vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills.

2008 Restaurant Award

10th annual "Restaurant Appreciation Award" highlights a restaurant that does an exceptional job of highlighting the width and breadth of Washington wines.

Winner: Barking Frog, Woodinville

At Willows Lodge in the heart of Woodinville Wine Country, the restaurant caters to locals, corporate clientele, foodies and oenophiles alike. Barking Frog's wine list is viewed an exceptional example of Washington's high quality wine grapes in a bottle. Staff knowledge helps promote sales and it does an outstanding job of representing a broad range of Washington wines.

The Washington Wine Commission named the Barking Frog its inaugural "Restaurant of the Year." Subsequent honors include "2007 Outstanding Washington Wine List" by Wine Press Northwest, along with numerous Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast Awards of Distinction. Recently, Jeffrey Dorgan was named the area's top wine director by columnist Anthony Dias Blue from The Tasting Panel magazine.