What is your favorite food & wine pairing?
Beth McCaw is President & CEO of Washington Women’s Foundation. She became a member of the Foundation in 2009 when she was a shareholder in the estate planning group of the Seattle-based law firm Stokes Lawrence. Prior to joining the staff, Beth served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors and Pooled Fund Grant Committee. In addition to serving as Board President of the Auction of Washington Wines, she currently serves on the Boards of Directors of YWCA USA, and Bellevue LifeSpring. Beth has served on a number of other Boards, including YWCA of Seattle-King County-Snohomish County and Overlake Medical Center. She earned a Masters in Not-for-Profit Leadership from Seattle University, a J.D. from University of Georgia School of Law and a B.A. with honors from Davidson College. Beth is a part of the WA Women’s Foundation transformation because bold, collective investments are required to solve complex community issues.
Dick has been involved with many industry organizations, and currently serves on the Washington Wine Commission board, the Wine Research Advisory Committee, Auction of Washington Wines board, National Grape/Welch's board and is past president of WA Wine Growers and Past Chairman of Wine Yakima Valley board. Dick is a graduate of U. of Puget Sound and is the recipient of several distinguished industry awards; the "Walter Clore Award" from the WA State Grape Society; "Grower of the Year" Eric Hanson memorial award from the WA Assoc. of Wine Grape Growers; "Honorary Grower Chair" for Auction of Washington Wines; "Industry Service Award" from the wine grape growers and the "2007 Grower of the Year" Wine & Spirits Magazine.
Greg co-founded Berntson Porter and chairs its consulting departments as well as serving as President of Berntson Porter Wealth Management, LLC. In addition to Greg’s tax and consulting work, he is well known for his work in the Forensic, Economic and Valuation Services Group as an expert witness and impartial Special Master to the court. Mr. Porter has served on numerous boards of directors, including the Washington Policy Center, Gen Next, and the College of Business National Board of Advisors. Greg has been recognized as a “40 under Forty" honoree by the Puget Sound Business Journal (PSBJ) in 1999. He also played football for Washington State University, where he was named to the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete Team.
Ted Baseler is Emeritus President & CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, where he has been for 30 years. Ted is the architect of the company’s expansion throughout WA, winery acquisitions in CA and OR, and the development of an imported wines portfolio including wineries from Italy, Spain, Chile, France and New Zealand. Throughout his career, Ted has been committed to community service holding board positions at Washington State Wine Commission, Wine Market Council (Napa-based), Auction of Washington Wines and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Ted has earned gubernatorial appointments to the WSU Board of Regents where he has served since 2006. Recently, he led the campaign to build a world class enology and viticulture institution at WSU, raising $23 million in private and government support. Ted also founded Ste. Michelle’s scholarship program benefiting students in need which has granted more than $3 million in scholarships in recent years.
Yahn Bernier is a computer game programmer and executive for Valve corporation in Bellevue. He grew up near the beaches of Florida, and attended Harvard where he received a degree in Chemistry before attending the University of Florida where he received his law degree. After law school, Yahn worked as an attorney for a patent law firm in Atlanta. After writing one too many patents for polyester chemicals, Yahn and his wife Beth McCaw moved to Seattle in 1998 when Yahn retired from the practice of law to pursue his hobby of making video games. Soon after moving to Seattle, Yahn and Beth discovered an appreciation for the wines of the local area and the world. Yahn has built wine cellars in his last two homes and has sadly come to realize that you can never build too large of a wine cellar. His collection is currently focused on the wines of Washington, Oregon, Bordeaux and the Rhone region. Yahn and Beth currently reside in Bellevue with their daughter Cameron and their cat Ben.
Frank Blethen is publisher of the Seattle Times/seattletimes.com. The Seattle Times is one of America’s last independent and locally owned newspapers and is in its 121st year of Blethen family stewardship. The Times is a values-based journalism/community service family business, known for its strong local coverage and its aggressive investigative reporting. The Times has won ten Pulitzer Prizes and has been a Pulitzer finalist 15 other times since 1990.
Frank is a member of the fourth family generation. Currently, there are eight members of the family's fourth and fifth generations active in the journalism company's management and governance. He is a strong advocate for independent journalism, family owned businesses, and a long time active participant in the national grass roots movement in opposition to newspaper and media ownership consolidation. In 2011, in recognition of Frank’s leadership on behalf of quality journalism, he was the first publisher to be awarded the American Society of News Editors’ News Leadership Award.
Renee Brisbois is a Managing Director and Banker with the J.P. Morgan Private Bank. With 35 years of experience in the financial services industries, she is responsible for developing wealth management solutions in the areas of planning, lending, fiduciary, charitable giving and investments. Before joining J.P. Morgan in 2010, Renee worked at Citi Smith Barney and has years of experience working in Private Banking at both Key Bank and Seafirst Bank.
Raised and educated abroad, she attended various international schools, including the Brent School in the Philippines. After graduation from Washington State University with a major in political science and a minor in French, she continued her studies at Japan University in Tokyo.
Rennee is actively involved in the local community, supporting the arts and numerous non-profits, is a member of the Washington Women’s Foundation and formerly sat on the Board of Directors of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. She resides in Woodinville with her husband and has three adult children and a chocolate lab. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, skiing, hiking and cooking for family and friends.
Kari Leitch is the Senior Vice President of Communications and Corporate Affairs for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, which is the third largest premium wine company in the U.S. Ms. Leitch began her career at Ste. Michelle in 1996.
During her tenure, she hasbeen responsible for corporate and branded communications initiatives, state and federal government affairs policy, and the hospitality centers, direct-to-consumer programs and eCommerce businesses for the wineries located in Washington and Oregon. She also managed the $8M renovation of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Visitor Center in Woodinville.
Ms. Leitch serves on the Senior Executive Board for Women of the Vine & Spirits, and she is a member of the California Wine Institute’s State Relations Subcommittee.Prior to joining Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Ms. Leitch managed communications and community affairs programs for nonprofit associations based in Washington and Illinois. A native of Illinois, Ms. Kari earned her BA in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Stacy Lill is Founder/CEO of Cashmere Partners, focusing on corporate Networking, Marketing, as well as Wine Industry Education & Development. Stacy is Founder & Brand Ambassador of O Wines, and Founder of the All Wines: Opportunity for Success Scholarship Program. Stacy’s career includes 23 years of Sales & Marketing experience for numerous Fortune 500 companies including Ernst & Young. Stacy has received many honors including the Cystic Fibrosis Breath of Life Award, Women’s University Club Business Woman of the Year, and the Puget Sound Business Journal Woman of Influence Award. She serves on many boards, including Cystic Fibrosis Leadership Council, Seattle’s World Trade Center, Auction of Washington Wines, and is a Seattle University Regent. Stacy is a graduate of U. of Washington.
Jessica Munnell began her career as a viticulturist for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in 2000. In 2003, she worked harvest for Bleasdale Vineyards in South Australia. Upon her return, she worked as Enologist at Prosser’s Snoqualmie Vineyards training under legendary winemaker, Joy Andersen. Munnell’s winemaking skills then took her to Chateau Ste. Michelle as Assistant Winemaker. In 2008, Jessica started the ultra premium winery Wautoma Springs Wines and following that produced wines at Artifex Wine Company, a custom crush facility in Walla Walla. In 2012, she joined the Mercer Estates team as Winemaker, where she produced 25 different wines. Currently, Jessica consults for winemaking clients while focusing on her brand, Wautoma Wines. Munnell holds a Master’s of Science degree from WSU where she studied enology and viticulture. She has travelled around the world to better understand the nuances of different wine-growing regions; when she is not cooking for friends or traveling, she is spending time with her husband and two children at their home in Richland, WA.
Cameron Myhrvold is a founding partner with Ignition, helping to start the firm in 1999. Mr. Myhrvold invests in software and infrastructure companies and especially big data, mobile and social solutions for the Enterprise. He worked as a top executive at Microsoft for more than a decade and previously co-founded a start-up software company that he sold to Microsoft. While at Microsoft, Cam mainly worked on operating system products. He was most recently the vice president of the Internet Customer Unit, where he was responsible for building business relationships with network operators and a broad range of telecommunications providers. Prior to that Cameron created the Developer Relations Group at Microsoft, which evangelized Windows and Microsoft’s other operating-system technologies to independent software vendors and third-party developers. This effort eventually became a 320-member team with an annual budget of $65 million, and was responsible for revenue of over $400 million. It created a community of 44,000 independent software vendors to develop Windows software. Cameron is an avid wine lover and is part owner of vineyards on Red Mountain. He also a long-time supporter of Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Deborah Nash is a former technology industry executive. From 1993 - 2003, she held various executive positions at Microsoft Corporation. Previously, she worked in Hardware Manufacturing and Development for IBM Corporation and served as executive Director of Worldwide Manufacturing for the AS/400 systems. Nash was twice named one of Fortune Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. She holds a Bachelors of Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and an honorary Doctorate of Sciences from the U. of Arizona. She received the Joseph Mayo Petit Distinguished Service Award from Georgia Tech in 2014, and was named to their Engineering and Greek Halls of Fame in 2016. Nash has served on many boards including the Blethen Corporation, The Georgia Tech Foundation, the YWCA of Seattle, and is currently a board member of Auction of Washington Wines, Saint Simons Land Trust, and the Board of Visitors of Frederica Academy.
Born and raised in Switzerland, Winemaker Jean-François Pellet is a third-generation wine grower. Working alongside his father, Jean-François always knew what he wanted to do with his life: make world-class wine. Jean-François supplemented his experience by earning degrees in enology and viticulture and interned in Switzerland, Germany and the Napa Valley. After graduating, his experience and reputation for meticulous winemaking brought him to the attention of Heitz Cellars in the Napa Valley, where he worked for four years before being recruited by Pepper Bridge Winery. His success at Pepper Bridge allowed him to join the Amavi partnership and to apply his winemaking skills to different grape varietals, particularly Syrah and Sémillon. In addition to being a winemaker and manager, Jean-François is a founding member and current vice-president of the Walla Walla Valley's sustainable agriculture organization, VINEA.
Steve Warner has served as President & CEO of the Washington State Wine Commission since 2012. Steve came to the Commission from Merck & Co., Inc., where he was the Managing Director based in Romania. Prior to that, he held General Manager and marketing positions and led teams while living in Seoul, South Korea; Bangkok, Thailand; and several domestic markets. Steve graduated from West Seattle High School before serving in the United States military’s Special Operations Command, first as a Sergeant in Pararescue and then as a Lieutenant Commander in U.S. Navy Special Operations. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in biology, Steve holds an MBA in international business and finance from Rutgers University.
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The Auction of Washington Wines is committed to supporting the growth and awareness of the Washington state wine industry through a series of celebrated events.