Red Mountain group appoints Unwin as executive director

March 22, 2012 

BENTON CITY, Wash. -- The Red Mountain AVA Alliance board of directors recently appointed Heather Unwin as executive director.

The group represents 23 vineyard owners, winemakers and stakeholders who live, work or purchase wine grapes from Red Mountain. Unwin takes over from Thea Upchurch, who held the position for two years on an interim basis.

"After a period of relative quiet, Red Mountain is seeing dynamic growth, increased acreage being planted and significant infrastructure improvements. As a small AVA growing premium wine grapes, our Board is dedicated to ensuring that growth on Red Mountain enhances our quality and reputation," Ed Shaw, RMAVAA Board President and owner of Portrait Cellars on Red Mountain, said in a news release. "Thea Upchurch did a wonderful job over the last two years of giving the Alliance an administrative structure and spearheading events for trade, media and consumers. Unwin now brings to this role a level of energy and innovation that will guarantee a continued commitment to outreach, improved infrastructure, and promotion of the work and quality that define Red Mountain."

Unwin has been active in the alliance since it began in 2008 and became a board member in 2010. She has been involved in marketing efforts for the alliance including branding, website, social media and events. Unwin has been the executive vice president for marketing at Terra Blanca Winery and Estate Vineyard since 2007 and will continue on in an advisory capacity.

She holds the WSET Intermediate Certificate with Distinction. Prior to her work in the wine industry, Unwin served as a marketing communications consultant for seven years and held positions in online media and marketing with Time Warner and CompuServe. She is a graduate of the University of Manchester, England.

The Red Mountain AVA Alliance was founded by vineyard owners, winemakers, wineries, residents an local industry leaders in 2008 as an organization with a stated mission to "commit our resources to protect and express the terroir of Red Mountain through eco-friendly agriculture, authentic wines and extraordinary experiences in an AVA that is unlike any other in the world."

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