Business News for Bellevue and the Eastside of Lake Washington

Washington Wine Institute Names Josh McDonald New Executive Director

The Washington Wine Institute (WWI) has appointed Josh McDonald as its Executive Director, effective January 5.

He will be responsible for managing the complex policy and regulatory issues facing Washington winery owners who make up the second largest wine industry in the U.S., after California.

Marty Clubb, WWI President and owner of L’Ecole No 41 winery, in Walla Walla, stated “With the exciting growth of our industry in the past few years, the timing is right to build on our legislative and regulatory successes in Olympia with a full-time Executive Director who can provide critical outreach to our winery members.” He added, “Josh has the association background, organizational development skills, and political experience that will help take WWI to the next level so wineries can realize even more value for their membership.”

Prior to joining the Washington Wine Institute, McDonald was the State and Local Government Affairs Manager for the Washington Restaurant Association.  There he was responsible for building the association’s local government program and for managing the association’s interests on issues including tourism, food safety, the environment, immigration, taxation and regulation, in Olympia.

“The Washington Wine Institute has been the industry’s leading advocate before the Legislature and Liquor Control Board for many years,” said McDonald. “I am looking forward to continuing this legacy while at the same time strengthening our presence in Olympia and around the state.”

Vicky Scharlau, Executive Director of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers (WAWGG), said that McDonald’s appointment would bolster how all facets of the industry are able to work together.

“WAWGG welcomes Josh to the Washington Wine Institute.  Working together over the past decade, WWI, the Washington State Wine Commission and WAWGG have made huge strides on behalf of grape growers and wineries.  We look forward to adding Josh to the team as his hiring can only strengthen our partnership as we meet the needs of a quickly expanding industry,” Scharlau said.

Mr. McDonald holds a bachelor’s degree in Politics and Government from the University of Puget Sound. He was born and raised in rural Northwest Montana.  He lives in Tacoma with his wife, Chelsea Levy, and their son, Liam.

The Washington Wine Institute is the leading advocate for Washington wineries.   WWI unites wineries big and small to make sure the collective voice of the Washington wine industry is present and strong in Olympia.

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