Board of Directors
Marketing Committee Chairman
Export Committee Chairman
Steve Thomson is the former executive vice president of King Estate Winery near Eugene where he worked for nearly 16 years. He chairs the export and marketing committees of the Oregon Wine Board and sits on the strategic planning committee of the Oregon Winegrowers Association. In the fall of 2013, Steve also represented Oregon wineries on the OLCC’s Retail Innovation Group task force evaluating potential impacts of spirits privatization.
A graduate of the University of Illinois with a BA in Political Science and International Marketing, Steve has also attended the UC Davis Wine Executive Program and has taken winemaking courses at UC Davis. He is presently completing a Certificate of Professional Development in finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Prior to working for King Estate, Steve enjoyed successful careers in senior management in the restaurant, hotel, and wine distribution industries. Steve and his wife Karen are also grape growers and partners in Walla Walla’s ‘Octave’ Vineyard.
Thomson has been actively involved in the wine industry serving on the Board of Directors of Wine America since 2006, as well as the Northwest Wine Coalition. A member of the Chemeketa College Wine Advisory Board since 2004, Steve helped develop the school’s degree curriculum in Wine Business.
Steve has been a speaker or panelist at events such as VinItaly, VinExpo, the London International Wine Trade Fair, as well as the Midwest Grape and Wine Conference. In April of 2012, he testified before the US Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Global Competitiveness as the wine industry witness on wine trade in the Pacific Rim.
Brick House Vineyards
Second Term Expires: 12/31/2017
Doug Tunnell returned to his native Oregon after a 20 year career in foreign news to found Brick House Vineyards in 1990. Dedicated to growing the three great varieties of Burgundy – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gamay Noir – the vineyards were first certified organic in 1990 and later Demeter Biodynamic in 2005. Doug is a graduate of West Linn High School (where his father was Superintendent for 32 years.) He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Lewis and Clark College and and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University. He served as a governor’s appointee on the board of Oregon Public Broadcasting for 9 years and is currently a trustee of Linfield College from which he received a honorary doctorate of Humane Letters in 2005.
Doug and his wife Melissa Mills reside at Brick House Vineyards where they produce approximately 4,000 cases of estate grown wine annually.
Research Committee Chairman
After spending most of his life in education, John Pratt moved to Southern Oregon with his wife Shari Eaton in 2004 and bought 24 acres where he planted a vineyard. Coming from Lodi, Calif., he was looking for a warmer location where he could ripen Italian varieties, establishing a niche relatively untouched by Oregon vintners. Pratt and Eaton grow Barbera, Dolcetto, Muscat, Sangiovese, Vermentino and Zinfandel, which they sell to a variety of Oregon wineries.
Besides making wine in his garage for friends and family, Pratt enjoys walking in his hillside vineyard, pruning, thinning and participating in research projects. Working closely with the Oregon State University faculty at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center in Central Point, he has expanded his knowledge of horticulture in general and viticulture specifically. Pratt co-chairs the statewide Oregon Wine Research Institute research committee, and serves as president of the Rogue Valley Winegrowers Association.
He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a master’s degree in English rhetoric and composition from the University of the Pacific. In addition to being a professor at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, he was also a member of the school board of the Lincoln Unified School District in Stockton, Calif.
In 2004, Ellen Brittan and her husband Robert purchased what is now Brittan Vineyards in the McMinnville AVA. Ellen is a graduate of the University of Washington with degrees in French and Spanish language and Literature and had always longed to return to her Northwest roots.
Ellen focuses on sales, marketing and financial side of the family winery, which produces estate grown Pinot noir and Syrah under the Brittan Vineyards label. In addition, Ellen serves as General Manager of the Carlton Winemakers’ Studio, a cooperative winery and tasting room where 11 artisan producers make and sell their wines.
Before moving to Oregon in 2008, Ellen spent 11 years in the Napa Valley as general manager of Rudd Vineyards & Winery and then as executive director of the Rudd Group, a portfolio of luxury food and wine businesses that includes Dean & DeLuca, Rudd and Edge Hill Wineries, Distillery 209, Oakville Grocery and PRESS Restaurant. While working with the Rudd Group, Ellen also served as the executive director of the Rudd Foundation where she oversaw the development of the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America, and the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. Prior to venturing into the wine business, Ellen spent 20 years in the Financial Services industry before deciding to give up the corporate world to follow her passion for food and wine.
First Term Expires: 12/31/2019
Kevin Chambers is a fifth-generation Oregon farmer, born in Salem and raised in Eugene. While studying for his degree in telecommunications and journalism at the University of Oregon, he took a part-time job working at Of Grape & Grain (Oregon’s second fine wine operation). Upon graduation, he took an offer from the owners of Of Grape & Grain to manage a new store for them. Kevin has worked in the Oregon wine industry ever since. After serving in marketing, sales and management positions at some of Oregon’s largest wineries, he purchased Oregon Vineyard Supply and Results Partners in late 1997. Kevin sold both of these businesses to the employees in 2009, and stepped down as CEO in 2012. During this time, he also created Willamette Cross Flow (a high-tech beverage filtration company based in McMinnville). He sold that business to his partner in 2013. In 1990, he purchased the property that would become Resonance Vineyard west of Carlton. He and his family sold that vineyard to Maison Louis Jadot of France in late 2013. They took the proceeds of that sale and purchased land high in the Eola-Amity Hills to develop Koosah Farm, a permaculture vineyard, orchard and pasture operation. Along the way, Kevin developed a keen interest in soils and plants, ultimately becoming an agronomic consultant working in several cropping systems. He has dedicated his professional life to serving Oregon agriculture. In his leisure time, he enjoys reading, chess and bridge.
Abacela Vineyards and Winery
First Term Expires: 12/31/2018
Hilda is vice president of Abacela. Twenty one years ago she and her husband Earl entered the wine business with the singular purpose of producing fine domestic wine in America from Spain’s native Tempranillo grape. Hilda has a BS degree in biology from Florida State University and a post graduate degree in medical technology from Emory University as her first career was in this arena.
Over the years she has worked at every job in the winery and vineyard including managing the tasting room. When the Jones’ decided to build a new tasting room in 2010, “it was our goal to make each guest’s visits an experiential one.”
Hilda was also a founding board member of Southern Oregon Wineries Association, served on the board of the Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Association and has served as an officer in the past. In addition, Hilda served on the Winston Dillard School Board for 10 years.
Jackson Family Wines
First Term Expires: 12/31/2019
Eugenia has held many top positions during her 40 years in the wine business. With a focus on viticulture, she began her career in 1976 with Joseph Swan Vineyards as a vineyard/cellar worker. This was followed by internships in Burgundy, an ideal place to learn the Old World approach to winegrowing. Upon her return in 1982, she accepted the position of business manager at Bouchaine Vineyards and was promoted to president & CEO in 1984. In 1994, she started her own winery, Keegan Cellars in the famed Russian River Valley of Sonoma County specializing in handcrafted Pinot noir and Chardonnay. Her travels took her to Oregon in 2003 where she ventured into the world of distribution and wholesale as the founder and co-owner of Tsarina Wines, a small fine wine distributor based in Portland. She sold the company in 2009 leaving herself free to pursue a lifelong dream of returning to France to own vineyards and once again make wine in the Old World. In July of 2013, she joined Jackson Family Wines and is now the Oregon general manager. Eugenia stays active in the wine community on the Willamette Valley Wineries Association Board, currently as president emeritus, the LIVE board and the Chemeketa Wine Advisory Committee.
Stoller Family Estate
First Term Expires: 12/31/2019
A native to Oregon’s Tualatin Valley, Jason earned his degree in horticulture from Oregon State University focusing on small fruits and berries. He has made his career farming premium quality winegrapes in the Willamette Valley having spent earlier years growing florist-grade cut flowers and foliage. Currently, Jason oversees more than 200 acres of vines for the Stoller Family Estate in the Dundee Hills AVA.
Jason has been highly involved serving in leadership roles for the Oregon wine industry’s wine research and sustainability focused communities. He is currently serving on the Oregon Wine Standing Committee for Research and since 2006 has served as a board member, past chairperson and technical chair for LIVE, the leading Northwest sustainable wine production certification program. His level of involvement led his alma mater to honor Jason with the College of Agricultural Sciences Luminary Award for early professional accomplishment in 2010. And, in 2016 the OWB presented Jason with the Outstanding Industry Service Award.
Outside of the wine industry Jason enjoys his home life with his wife Aimee and two young children: Olive and Cedar. Home is near Helvetia, OR in the Tualatin Valley. Here he grows a very large vegetable garden and small fruit orchard with a few egg chickens to feed his family year round. For fun Jason enjoys the same pastimes he once enjoyed with his parents and grandparents of camping in Oregon’s beautiful wilderness, skiing its mountains and surfing its unparalleled coastline.
Juan Pablo (JP) Valot
Oregon Wine Standing Committee on Research Chairman
Silvan Ridge Winery/Elizabeth Chambers Cellar
Second Term Expires: 12/31/2018
Juan Pablo has worked for Silvan Ridge Winery for almost nine years and became the Winemaker in August 2012. In 2013, JP also became the Associate Winemaker for Elizabeth Chambers Cellar, Silvan Ridge’s sister winery locate in McMinnville, sharing winemaking responsibilities in both wineries.
JP was born in Mendoza, Argentina, which is most known as Argentina’s wine country. He completed a five year degree in agricultural sciences, with a focus in enology and viticulture at the National University of Cuyo in Mendoza, Argentina. After graduation JP worked as an enologist for Esmeralda, one of the Catena wineries. In 2001, he came to Oregon looking for new challenges and was attracted by Oregon’s growing wine industry. In 2002, he met his wife Doris and both decided to settle in Oregon.
Before working for Silvan Ridge, JP worked for Willamette Valley Vineyards, Soter Vineyards and Dobbes Family Estate. JP’s qualifications include 13 years of experience in winemaking with 16 vintages between his work in Oregon and Argentina. He has played multiple roles in Oregon’s wine industry including winemaker, vineyard manager, and educator. He is a well-rounded wine professional who understands the winemaking process from the vine to glass. He brings to Silvan Ridge his strong educational and professional experience but most important, he brings his passion and commitment to make high quality wine.
JP’s other passion is to spend time with his wife Doris and his baby boy Francisco. Together they share a passion for traveling. He is an avid traveler who has visited many countries in North, South and Central America, Europe, and the Caribbean. As a good Argentinian, he also loves soccer, particularly his beloved Boca Juniors, and always enjoys a good “asado.”