Celebrating Washington Wine Leaders

Two well-respected organizations in Washington’s wine industry, the Auction of Washington Wines and the Washington Winegrowers Association, have released their yearly list of honorees.

Auction of Washington Wines recognizes the following:

Honorary Chair, Karen MacNeil, a speaker, consultant, Emmy Award-winning host of “Wine, Food, & Friends with Karen MacNeil,” and author of the award-winning book “The Wine Bible.”



Honorary Vintner, Mark Ryan McNeilly, of Mark Ryan Winery, a 20-plus-year-old winery with a collection of award-winning wines, sourcing from some of the most sought-after vineyards.



Honorary Grower, Rob Mercer, of Mercer Estates Winery, whose stewardship of the land has grown more than 25 varietals across over 3,000 acres in the Horse Heaven Hills and Columbia Valley AVAs.


Washington Winegrowers Association recognizes the following:

Erick Hanson Memorial Grower of the Year, David Minick, owner and founding winemaker of Willow Crest Wine Estates, has produced his own wine since the 1980s, launching his own winery, and becoming a well-respected source for viticulture.

Industry Service Award Winner, Kent Waliser, general manager of Sagemoor Vineyards, helped pioneer the digitalizing of viticulture data as a valuable resource for winemakers and stewarded the construction of Washington State University’s Wine Science Center.

Lifetime Achievement Honoree, Mike Sauer, owner of Red Willow Vineyard, has nearly 50 years of experience in the industry and has championed soil biology methods and sustainable practices in farming. Sauer has been previously recognized by the James Beard Foundation.

Grand Vin Award Winner, Gordon (Gordy) Hill, winemaker at Coventry Vale Winery, was one of Washington’s early winemakers, working with now well-established wineries, and helping to develop the industry’s support of mentorship and overall community.


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