Dec 13, 2023
Washington Winegrowers Association names executive director

The Washington Winegrowers Association has named its new executive director.

Colleen Frei will lead the nonprofit organization that serves Washington winegrowers and vintners.

Colleen Frei
Colleen Frei

Frei was a partner at Jeffers, Danielson, Sonn & Aylward, P.S., for 18 years. The law firm focused on agriculture, water rights, business and succession planning. She has also served on community boards and state and professional groups bringing extensive nonprofit leadership.

“Colleen’s background makes it possible for her to hit the ground running as Winegrowers continues to meet member and broader industry needs,” Shane Collins, Washington Winegrowers’ board chair, said in a news release. “We’re excited for her experience navigating the issues that face the wine industry, and her passion and drive to adapt to our ever-changing environment.”

As executive director, Frei is responsible for developing and stewarding relationships with growers, vintners, policymakers, educational institutions, and other industry partners. She will provide vision and leadership to Washington Winegrowers, including state and federal government relations and advocacy as well as educational programming, strategic planning, and organization development, according to the release.

“I am thrilled to join the Washington Winegrowers team to continue strengthening the wine industry,” Frei said in the release. “Winegrowers is at the forefront of innovation and change, engaging all sides of the wine industry with Sustainable WA as the first statewide certified sustainability program, the Latino Agricultural Education Program, and WineVit convention and trade show as examples. I look forward to building on the legacy accomplished to date and am excited to be part of future success.”

Washington Winegrowers Association Frei begins her position on Jan. 1.

She succeeds Vicky Scharlau, who has held the position since 1999. Scharlau will remain with Washington Winegrowers as of-counsel, facilitating select programs, according to the release.

“It has truly been an honor to serve Winegrowers,” Scharlau said in the release. “The needs of the wine industry are so unique and advocating for the Washington wine industry has been exhilarating and the greatest challenge of my professional career. Colleen’s impressive credentials and leadership skills are exactly what is needed in the next phase of Washington’s growth.”

Founded in 1983, the Washington Winegrowers Association supports members by addressing industry needs through collaboration and partnerships to enhance the Washington wine industry.

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