Face to face

Gary Werner

Director of communications at the Washington Wine Commission. Previously, he was contributing editor for Wine & Spirit magazine
27 August, 2008
Page 8 
What has been your greatest achievement?

My family. They are quite literally my

life's work (and joy).

What is your greatest strength?

Discipline. Six years in the Atlantic submarine fleet of the US Navy gave me tremendous focus and perseverance.

What concerns you most about the drinks industry?

Promoting on price. There is debate about whether it's socially responsible, but it never connotes quality nor supports long-term industry sustainability.

Is there a trend you think is important but that has perhaps been overlooked?

We could devot e more media and marketing attention to the personalities and communities producing our products. Consumers respond to people more dynamically than they do to production parameters (soil, climate, etc). The success of Fairtrade is only a glimpse of the potential on this front.

What is your main priority at the Washington Wine Commission?

I've only just started in my role here, so I expect to do a lot of listening. But ultimately I want to develop a coherent and compelling communications plan for the region.

Will Washington State be able to supply the demand that arises from your efforts to raise its profile?

Absolutely. The industry has tripled in scale during recent years and that pace shows no sign of slowing.

You have extensive knowledge of wine and spirits. How did you come by it?

Yes, and that came courtesy of several years as a UK-based drinks journalist - in the wake of all the usual WSET courses.

What do you like to drink?

Among wines, I have a weakness for crisp whites including dry Riesling, mineral-laced Chardonnay and lively Sauvignon Blanc at the greener end of the spectrum.

What do you do to relax?

Not enough, at least in the conventional sense. Work and family life are all-consuming, but I can't imagine anything else.

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