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Washington Wine Commission Tries to Not Suck, I’m Ready to Apply as their Much-needed “Washington Wine Liaison”


I have to give them credit for trying. I checked the Washington Wine Commission Fee Collector website this morning to find a “Snipes Mountain AVA established” headline in the Washington Wine News part of the website. The news is dated as February 20th 2009, the day the Snipes Mountain AVA was officially established, and the same day Mutineer ripped into the organization for NOT having any information about the new Snipes Mountain AVA, which tells us that this information was added either late Friday night or sometime over the weekend. This is clearly an attempt by the WWC to not look like fools, though the damage has been done.

On Saturday, one of the Snipes Mountain AVA’s main organizers, Todd Newhouse of Upland Estates sent me an e-mail saying that no one from the WWC has even tried to contact him. I contacted Mr. Newhouse myself on Friday when I set out to find information on the new AVA, and he was very helpful and accommodating. He has sent me a media kit on the Snipes AVA and I’ll pass along the information to you when I get it. He has also referred me to other information sources regarding Snipes Mountain AVA.

It should be noted that while the WWC has now done the bare minimum of technically acknowledging the new AVA on the WWC website, their effort in doing so is piss-poor and uninspired at best. I guess they are still “exploring” it per my conversation with their “Senior Communications Manager” on Friday. I actually offered to drive myself the three hours over to the Snipes Mountain AVA to get some photos and do the interviews and research for them, which I now see they should have taken me up on, because the link in the news about Snipes takes the curious reader to a PDF of Federal documents about the AVA. What is really curious about this document is that it is dated as January 21, 2009, which means that the WWC had a month of lead time to “explore” the Snipes Mountain AVA and therefore be ready to support and promote it when it became officially established.

I’ve talked to a gaggle of Washington wine professionals over the weekend regarding this, and everyone says the same thing, and they all pretty much agree that the Washington Wine Commission is a broken organization that everyone just humors and puts up with.

Here is what I suspect happened Saturday morning at the Washington Wine Commission:

WWC Cronie #1: This guy at Mutineer Magazine is up in our grill over this whole AVA thing.

WWC Cronie #2: What AVA thing?

WWC Cronie #1: I really don’t know? He keeps blasting us over some new Snipes Mountain AVA in Eastern Washington?

WWC Cronie #2: Our Eastern Washington? When did that happen?

WWC Cronie #1: Yesterday I guess. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau sent me some info back in January on it, but I haven’t read it.

WWC Cronie #2: Well what does this journalist at Mutineer Magazine want us to do? Doesn’t he know we’re busy hocking Washington wine in Austin?

WWC Cronie #1: This isn’t just some journalist from Wine Spectator, this guy actually checked us out, and he found our pseudo mission statement on the website.

WWC Cronie #2: Dammit! I knew it was a terrible idea putting that up. If no one knows what we are supposed to be doing, how can we ever “drop the ball”.

WWC Cronie #1: I agree, but it’s on the website, and he found it, and he’s really being literal about the whole, “The Washington Wine Commission is responsible for the promotion and development of the Washington wine industry” part. He says that the addition of a new AVA is an epic process that means the world to the wineries involved with putting it together, and that we should do everything we can to support these efforts.

WWC Cronie #2: But what about Austin? Did you tell him about Austin?

WWC Cronie #1: I did. A lot. But he keeps saying that an organization with as many employees as we have should be able to do two things at once. He also said that Austin is a simple, three hour event, and that Mutineer Magazine is doing something similar in May and somehow organizing the whole thing using two employees.

WWC Cronie #2: Blasphemy!!! It takes at least ten bureaucrats to organize an event at Austin’s magnitude! What are we going to do?

WWC Cronie #1: Well, what we’re not going to do is cop to the fact that there isn’t even any information about this Austin event on our own events page. And as for Snipegate, this Federal document is pretty tedious, can you read it?

WWC Cronie #2: No way. I need to focus on Austin.

WWC Cronie #1: Dammit. It’s not like I can stop focusing on Austin now, can I? Why don’t we just post the PDF and call it good?

WWC Cronie #2: Yes! That will do!

If you think I’m kidding, check out the WWC’s homepage.


  1. Terry | Tuesday, February 24, 2009

    Ouch! When you consider that the WWC is supported by the taxes that Washington wineries pay you would think that it would be in their best interests to do everything they can to promote ALL of the wineries, not just the ones that can afford to do distribution events in far-off cities.

  2. Mark | Tuesday, February 24, 2009

    ^^ Co-signed!!!

  3. Kim | Tuesday, February 24, 2009

    chuckle, chuckle. pretty embarrassing for the WWC, eh? Dang, in Sonoma and Napa wine country, we have info on pending AVAs before they’re approved. Step up WA, it’s the 21st century!


  4. Special Report: SNIPES MOUNTAIN AVA of Washington State | Mutineer Magazine | Thursday, February 26, 2009

    […] say check out the Washington Wine Commission’s website for more information, but they barely recognize Snipes’ existence, let alone promote and inform about it, so I would direct any questions you have to Mr. Newhouse at […]

  5. Wine Trekker | Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Wake-up Eastern WA it is time to remove yourselves from the special interest group that is the wine commission and start your own commission that has your interests and is run by yourselves. Kick Ted to the curb plzzzzzz.

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