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L’Ecole, Seattle Times owners to co-chair Auction of Washington Wines
The Clubbs will be joined by Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen, and his wife, Charlene, as co-chairs for two-year terms in helping promote the Washington wine industry and support uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“We are thrilled to participate as co-chairs for the 27th annual Auction of Washington Wines,” Marty Clubb said in a news release. “After more than 30 years in the Washington state wine industry, it will be our pleasure to help celebrate the region’s bounty while collectively giving back to those in need.”
Blethen, whose company also operates two news organizations in wine country — the Yakima Herald-Republic and Walla Walla Union-Bulletin — said, “We are honored to be involved with this distinguished event which showcases family-owned wineries across the state. This is a wonderful opportunity to promote Washington’s remarkable wine producers, while at the same time caring for families in need in our community. We look forward to working with this great organization.”
The Auction of Washington Wines features five annual events, starting May 24 with Revelry on Red Mountain. The marquee events will be staged Aug. 14-16 in the Puget Sound. That weekend begins in Woodinville with the Picnic & Barrel Auction at Chateau Ste. Michelle, followed by the Winemaker Dinner Series at restaurants throughout the Puget Sound. Next is the Columbia Winery Run/Walk, and the weekend concludes with The Wine Gala at Chateau Ste. Michelle.
“We are thrilled to have Frank and Charlene Blethen and Marty and Megan Clubb as our co-chairs,” said Sherri Swingle Johnson, executive director of the Auction of Washington Wines. “As stellar leaders in our community and industry, they will continue the tradition of great leadership for our organization. We look forward to combining resources and talents for another successful Auction of Washington Wines.”
The Auction of Washington Wines has raised more than $30 million for uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital. A portion of the money raised also benefits Washington State University’s Viticulture & Enology Program.
L’Ecole, the third-oldest winery in the Walla Walla Valley, was founded in 1983 by Megan Clubb’s parents, Jean and Baker Ferguson. Marty and Megan, who met in graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, took over the winery operations in 1989.
Marty serves as the managing winemaker, while Megan is CEO of Baker Boyer National Bank, the state’s oldest bank. She is in the middle of a three-year term on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Marty’s leadership within the state wine industry goes back more than 20 years. He serves as President and director of the Washington Wine Institute and represents the state for WineAmerica. He help found the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, acting as President for six years, and helped with the development of the Walla Walla Community College’s acclaimed viticulture and enology program. He’s also served on the board of the Washington State Wine Commission.
A managing partner in Seven Hills Vineyard, he also partners with Leonetti Cellar and Pepper Bridge Winery on the expansive SeVein vineyard development south of Milton-Freewater, Ore.
Frank Blethen is the fourth generation leader of the Blethen family, which has owned The Seattle Times for 117 years. Charlene Blethen has worked as a professional fundraiser for regional nonprofits including United Way of King County and the Museum of Flight, and has served on the boards of Seattle Children’s Home, Parent Trust and Mavia. She’s also served as board chair for the YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish, a board she has sat on for 10 years, and volunteers with The Kindering Center in Bellevue.
Last year, co-chairs Bob Betz of Betz Family Winery and Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America, helped the Auction of Washington Wines raise $2 million. The honorary chair was Harvey Steiman, editor at large for Wine Spectator.
Past chairs include Ted Baseler, President & CEO, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates; Chuck Carpenter, retired from Weyerhaeuser; Pamela Eakes, Children’s Hospital Foundation; Ron Elgin, Chairman & CEO, DDB; Virgil Fassio, Seattle Post-Intelligencer; Michael Fielding, Coopers & Lybrand; Steve Fleischmann, Chairman & CEO, Fleischmann Office Interiors; Keith Grinstein, Second Avenue Partners; Rick Holley, President & CEO, Plum Creek Timber Company; Michael Kranda, President & COO, Immunex Corporation; Tod Leiweke, CEO, Seattle Seahawks/Seattle Sounders FC; Greg Lill, CEO/Co-Owner, DeLille Cellars; Gary McLean, President, Interstate Distributor Co.; John Meisenbach, President, MCM, A Meisenbach Company; Cameron Myhrvold, Ignition Partners; Victor L. Peters, American Management Systems; Howard Schultz, Starbucks; Jim Sinegal, Costco Wholesale; Rick and Darcey Fugman-Small, Woodward Canyon Winery; Phil Smart, Sr., Chairman, Phil Smart Mercedes Benz; Brad and Michelle Smith, Smith & Greene Company; Gerry Warren, Enological Society of the Pacific Northwest.