Kerrie Walters has been named manager of the Southern Oregon Winery Association (SOWA). Walters, an independent contractor, brings more than 20 years of tourism advocacy, marketing and sales experience to her new position.
As the manager of SOWA, Kerrie will serve as the liaison and board management strategist to the winery association, which is currently comprised of 60-member wineries in southern Oregon. Kerrie will also be the region’s liaison for the Wine Country License Plates Advisory Committee, which will exist as a special committee under the Board of Directors of Travel Southern Oregon, the regional destination marketing organization that manages the SOWA contract.
“My goal is to help to build on the strong alignment between the Southern Oregon Winery Association and Travel Southern Oregon,” Kerrie says. “I look forward to helping promote southern Oregon wineries and the southern Oregon wine region as a premier wine destination.”
Previously, Kerrie was the longtime director of the visitors and convention organization for the city of Grants Pass. In her role with Grants Pass Tourism, Kerrie worked with winemakers throughout the Applegate Valley to market wine touring as one of the region’s most important and enjoyable visitor experiences. She partnered with the Travel Information Council and the Applegate Valley Wine Trail to introduce the first directional signage for any tourism organization along Interstate 5. She also was involved with tour and travel alliance groups and served as president of the Oregon Destination Marketing Organizations.
“Kerrie is a natural leader with an innovative way of thinking, and is exceptionally talented at bringing groups together in collegial projects that leverage everyone’s resources effectively to the benefit of all,” says Carolyn S. Hill, CEO of Travel Southern Oregon and Executive Director of the Southern Oregon Winery Association. “At Travel Southern Oregon we’re privileged to work closely with winemakers from Ashland to Roseburg, and all points between. Kerrie comes to our team at a time of exciting growth and potential in the wine industry, and we are delighted to have her talents on board.”
A Grants Pass resident, Kerrie is a board member for the Canine Angels Service Team, serves on the Josephine County Cultural Coalition and on the disability advocacy committee of the Rogue Valley Council of Governments.