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Founder, Jim Bernau

James W. Bernau

Mr. Bernau has been President and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Company since its inception in May 1988. Willamette Valley Vineyards was originally established as a sole proprietorship by Oregon winegrower Jim Bernau in 1983, and he co-founded the Company in 1988 with Salem grape grower, Donald Voorhies. From 1981 to September 1989, Mr. Bernau was Director of the Oregon Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (“NFIB”), an association of 15,000 independent businesses in Oregon. Mr. Bernau has served as the President of the Oregon Winegrowers Association and the Treasurer of the association’s Political Action Committee (PAC) and Chair of the Promotions Committee of the Oregon Wine Advisory Board, the State of Oregon’s agency dedicated to the development of the industry. In March 2005, Mr. Bernau received the industry’s Founder’s Award for his service. Mr. Bernau’s qualifications to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors include his more than 20 years of leadership of the Company and his industry experience and contacts.

Board Member, Craig Smith

Craig Smith, CPA, MBA, JD

Mr. Smith has served as a director since October 2007 and as Secretary since 2009. Mr. Smith previously served as the Vice President/Chief Financial Officer of Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon and is currently serving as College Support Officer. He was an Adjunct Professor at the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University, as well as Managing Partner of a large local CPA firm. He has served on many State of Oregon commissions and he has served as the Board Chairperson for many of the local non-profit and educational institutions including the Salem Keizer School Board, Chemeketa Community College Board of Education, State Fair Dismissal Appeals Board, Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments, Oregon School Boards Association and the United Way. Mr. Smith is an active member of the Oregon State Bar and a Certified Public Accountant. Mr. Smith’s qualifications to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors include his financial and accounting experience.

CFO, Richard Goward

Leslie Copland

Leslie Copland is the President/Owner of Leslie Copland Leadership, a Development Consulting & Executive Coaching firm in Portland, Oregon. Leslie previously served as VP, Organizational Development and Learning at Waggener Edstrom, a worldwide strategic communications agency, where she provided executive coaching and leadership, team and management development. She is a Certified Forum Facilitator with YPO, executive coach and works with individuals, couples and families in their personal and professional development. Leslie holds a Masters degree in Applied Behavioral Science from the Leadership Institute of Seattle and coaching certification from New Ventures West. 




Board Member, James Ellis

James L. Ellis

Mr. Ellis has served as a director since July 1991. Mr. Ellis retired from full time duties with the Company in July of 2009 and currently works part-time on selected projects. Mr. Ellis previously served as the Company’s Director of Human Resources from 1993 to 2009. He also served as the Company’s Secretary from 1997 to 2009, and Vice President /Corporate from 1998 to 2009. From 1990 to 1992, Mr. Ellis was a partner in Kenneth L. Fisher, Ph.D. & Associates, a management-consulting firm. From 1980 to 1990, Mr. Ellis was Vice President and General Manager of R.A. Kevane & Associates, a Pacific Northwest personnel-consulting firm. From 1962 to 1979, Mr. Ellis was a member of and administrator for the Christian Brothers of California, owner of Mont La Salle Vineyards and producer of Christian Brothers wines and brandy. Mr. Ellis’ qualifications to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors include his prior experience as a member of the Company’s senior management, as well as more than 40 years of business experience.

Board Member, Stan Turel

Stan G. Turel

Mr. Turel has served as a director since November 1994. Mr. Turel is President of Turel Enterprises, a real estate management company managing his own properties in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Prior to his current activities, Mr. Turel was the Principal and CEO of Columbia Turel, (formally Columbia Bookkeeping, Inc.) a position which he held from 1974 to 2001. Prior to the sale of the company to Fiducial, one of Europe’s largest accounting firms, Columbia had 26,000 annual tax clients including 4,000 small business clients. Additionally Mr. Turel successfully operated as majority owner two cable TV companies during the 80’s and 90’s which were eventually sold to several public corporations. Mr. Turel is a pilot, was a former delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business and held positions on several state and local Government committees. Mr. Turel’s qualifications to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors include his more than 20 years of accounting and business management experience. Mr. Turel is also an author and is the Director for the United Way of Central Oregon.

Board Member, Chris Sarles

Chris L. Sarles

Mr. Sarles has served as a director since January of 2015. Mr. Sarles is the President/CEO of Oregon Fruit Products, a position he has held since July of 2014. From May of 1998 until June of 2014 Mr. Sarles worked in various executive capacities in Columbia Distributing/Young’s Market, most recently as Executive Vice President of Sales from 2011 to 2014. From 1987 to 1995 he was President/Chief Operating Officer of Alehouse Distributing Company in Seattle Washington. Mr. Sarles has been actively involved in the wine industry, been a speaker on Wine Industry issues, and served as President of the Oregon Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Marketing from Oregon State University. Mr. Sarles is qualified to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors as a result of his many years of executive experience in the alcohol distribution industry.

Board Member, Sean Cary

Sean M. Cary

Mr. Cary has served as a director since July 2007. Mr. Cary is the Corporate Controller of National Warranty Corporation, a Eugene, Oregon based provider of finance and insurance products sold through automobile dealers located in the Pacific Northwest. Previously, Mr. Cary served as the CFO of Cascade Structural Laminators, a laminated beam manufacturer headquartered in Eugene, Oregon and prior to that as Controller of Willamette Valley Vineyards. Mr. Cary served in the U.S. Air Force as a Financial Officer. Mr. Cary holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management from the U.S. Air Force Academy. Mr. Cary’s qualifications to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors include his financial and accounting expertise.

Board Member, Heather Westing

Heather Westing

Heather Westing owns several real estate developments, restaurant and financial companies in Oregon. She is the former owner of The Subway Group - Franchisor Agency for over 350 Subway Restaurants. She served on Subway’s Worldwide Advisory Board. Ms. Westing is an active member in the Oregon Angel Fund, and oversees the Westing Family Foundation. Previously, Ms. Westing owned an Advertising and Marketing Agency, with offices in Eugene, Portland and Bend. She has also owned and operated a 50-acre farm of filberts, grass seed and Christmas trees. She also served on Umpqua Bank’s Regional Board of Advisory, and The Oregon Bach Festival’s Board of Directors. She is a Lifetime Alumni of University of Oregon, where she studied Finance and Real Estate. Heather has two grown sons and lives with her partner, Kyle, in Lake Oswego with their yellow lab, Sydney.


Founded in 1983 by Oregon native Jim Bernau with the dream of creating world-class Pinot Noir,
Willamette Valley Vineyards has grown from a bold idea into one of the region’s leading wineries, earning the title “One of America’s Great Pinot Noir Producers” from Wine Enthusiast Magazine


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