Sunday, February 21, 2016


The Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers recognized achievements of industry leaders at an Honor Reception held during their annual Convention held in Kennewick last week. The annual awards were for Grower of the Year, Industry Service, Lifetime Achievement, and Restaurant Appreciation. About 2,000 state, national, and international participants from the grape and wine industry attended.

Mimi Nye, of Ste Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate
received the Erick Hanson Memorial Wine Grape Grower Award for demonstrated viticultural skills that provide impact in the vineyard and in the bottle. Nye is recognized throughout the industry as an iconic vineyard manager, full of tenacity and a passion for growing perfect grapes. Her wealth of experience in the wine industry and her tireless dedication to quality have brought many accolades over the years including three Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of the World. Amongst colleagues, she is known for loyalty, perseverance, and championing her vineyard and region.

Ken Eastwell, recently retired from Washington State University as the Director of the Clean Plant Center Northwest, received the Industry Service Award for his tireless dedication on behalf of and for the continual improvement and benefit of the wine grape industry. Eastwell has contributed significantly to the health of fruit tree, grapevine, and hops production in Washington. His commitment to the clean plant effort has improved the livelihood of growers and those industries dependent on agriculture and has resulted in thousands of virus-tested, clean vines being planted in our state.

John Williams and Jim Holmes, both received a Lifetime Achievement Award this year to recognize their work as pioneers of the Washington grape and wine industry.  John Williams of Kiona Vineyards and Winery is known for his gregarious spirit and big heart.  In 1972 he saw potential in an open field and in the years since built one of Washington’s greatest wineries.  Jim Holmes, of Ancora Estate, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard and Cote du Ciel, is known for his vision, optimism, and passion for innovation. His commitment to excellence and quality has allowed him to garner a level of respect for Red Mountain AVA that will have a lasting impact.

Each year a restaurant is selected from nominations submitted by growers and vintners that does an exceptional job showcasing and educating diners about Washington wines. This year’s recipient, the Woodinville restaurant, The Herbfarm, promotes the extraordinary foods and wines of the Pacific Northwest by not only serving Washington wines, but growing, harvesting, and even bottling them.

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