Northwest Wine & Food Society fosters connections within the restaurant and winery communities in Washington and Oregon.  We aim to provide financial and educational opportunities to locally owned restaurants and to students in the culinary arts, viticulture and other similar areas of study.

The Board Members

Julie Olson


When Julie owned her wine shop, she was frequently asked what her favorite wine was. That’s like asking someone to pick their favorite child, which is easier for her since she only has one, and he knows he’s her favorite. Julie says her degree in microbiology and her food science background would lead her to the Northwest Wine & Food Society. When deciding on a food and wine pairing for dinner, it’s typical in her house to pick the wine first, then pair the food that balances with it best. And on the occasions where it’s just wine for dinner, it comes down to a big, bold, brooding Syrah or a deep, dark, intense Napa Valley Zinfandel.

Les Badden

Vice President

Les Badden is color-blind when it comes to a great glass of wine – he doesn’t care if it’s red or white. His career as a cinematographer and producer of live events took him around the world and has given him the opportunity to dine at some of the finest restaurants and sample the best cuisines.  He feels fortunate to live in a community that produces some of the best wines and most delicious foods on the planet.

Melinda Hinkley


Red Red Wine….that’s the song of her life. Melinda loves a full-bodied red, bold, and round. Cabernet is her favorite, but there’s always a place for a rich Syrah or an interesting Tempranillo or Malbec. Her career in the Hospitality industry has afforded her the opportunity to eat some spectacular food and drink some great wine, but she appreciates the more approachable bottles you can get at the market and a good ‘Mom and Pop’ diner.  She sees every day as the perfect day for a good meal and a glass of wine, especially if you can share it with friends.

Kim Decker


If Kim were a wine, she’d be red, warm, rich, and full-bodied. Pour her in a glass and she\’d burst forth with the complexity of fresh fruit, spice, and finishing with a smooth, smokey taste. Perfectly paired with gourmet food, warm sunsets, and great friends! Having spent many years in both California and Southwest Washington, Kim has come to love big, bold reds. However, on a hot day, she’ll like to start her evening with a cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a beautiful charcuterie plate.

Gerri Badden

Board Member

Gerri’s favorite go-to wine glass is filled with a chilled Chardonnay that carries flavors of oak barrels and a sunny day. Retiring after four decades in public service, her career included managing federal grant programs and working with hundreds of community-based non-profit organizations. Along the way, she always found time to share a bottle or two of Chardonnay with colleagues and friends. Gerri is committed to the search for the next best Chardonnay in the Northwest! She’s excited to be working with NW&FS and local communities to raise awareness and funds in support of our rich Northwest culture of wine and food. Together we can support students in the fields of culinary arts and viticulture.

Russell Brent

Board Member

Russell loves big reds. If he was a bottle of wine it would likely be a big Zin. Giant 100-year-old rootstock producing fruit for generations. He has not always been that way, big flavors are something one grows into. He’s been in the Hospitality industry for over 45 years. When he got started he picked up a couple of books on wine. Working in a four-star Italian restaurant, where they had some incredible wines, he remembers the first time he opened a bottle of Château Lafite 1961 and freaked out a little. He was sweating and almost broke the cork, but succeeded and poured it for the guests. They loved it, they sensed his anxiety and offered him a taste. Since that time he’s begun to realize that he will never know everything there is to know about wine, but will enjoy the journey.

Barbara Watts

Board Member

Supported Schools

Contact us

Northwest Wine and Food Society

2114 Main Street Suite 100 #339 Vancouver WA 98660