Home Industry News Releases Wine Institute Restructures Federal and International Advocacy Operations

Wine Institute Restructures Federal and International Advocacy Operations


Tom LaFaille Retires After 15 Years of Service; Charles Jefferson To Lead Combined Department

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Wine Institute today announced a restructuring of its Federal Relations and International Public Policy Departments to streamline its work with U.S. government agencies, the U.S. Congress, and foreign governments and international organizations. The previously separate departments will be combined and housed together in Wine Institute’s Washington, D.C. office.

Tom LaFaille, Wine Institute’s Vice President & International Trade Counsel, recently announced his retirement after 15 years at Wine Institute. Charles Jefferson is being promoted to the new position of Vice President, Federal and International Public Policy, and will lead all federal and international advocacy efforts. Jefferson has served as Wine Institute’s Vice President of Federal Relations for nearly five years and previously spent 20 years working in public policy, including 17 years in the U.S. Congress.

Katherine Bedard is being promoted to Director, International Public Policy, building on 15 years of international trade and development experience. Prior to joining Wine Institute in June 2014 as Manager, International Trade Policy, she worked in USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, the Spanish Embassy in Washington. D.C., and the World Bank Group.

Linda Ulrich, who has served for nearly five years as Wine Institute’s Vice President, Federal Relations, has decided to depart the organization.

“Tom has been an incredible colleague and friend to all of us for the last 15 years. We will truly miss him and the many contributions he has made to Wine Institute, and we wish him the best as he begins this new chapter,” said Robert P. “Bobby” Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. “We are very pleased that Charles and Katherine have agreed to take on these new responsibilities, and we wish Linda the very best in all of her future endeavors.”

Wine Institute is the premier organization of California wineries representing nearly 1,000 wineries and associate members who are responsible for 85% of U.S. production and 97% of U.S. wine exports. Wine Institute is the only U.S. organization working at the local, state, federal and international levels to initiate and advocate public policy that enhances the ability to responsibly produce, promote and enjoy wine.

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