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Tuesday, Jun. 14, 2011

Oregon Wine Board executive steps down

PORTLAND — Steve Burns, a former executive director of the Washington Wine Commission, will take over on an interim basis for the executive director of the Oregon Wine Board. A wine board statement Monday stated that Jeanette Morgan had stepped down but offered no details.

Morgan, 44, was hired last fall. The Oregonian reported that Morgan could not immediately be reached for comment. She said recently that five of the wine board's nine staff members had left since her hiring. She said the majority of the departures were voluntary.

Oregon Wine Board spokesman Charles Humble said he couldn't comment on whether the staff departures had anything to do with Morgan leaving.

Humble told Wine Press Northwest, "A lot of us were surprised" by Morgan's sudden departure. Humble was brought on by Morgan to replace Stephany Boettner, who resigned earlier this spring.

Burns recently has operated a wine-consulting business in California.

This isn't the first time Burns has stepped in after a Northwest wine leader has suddenly left. Just six months after he left the Washington Wine Commission in 2004, Burns took over on an interim basis when Jane Baxter Lynn suddenly departed.