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Fred Abrahamson: 'Best in Show'

When Fred Abrahamson, our Fiscal Adviser and Contract Manager, took the long ferry ride back to Kitsap County last month, he found a reward that exceeded his wildest expectations. A bottle of his Madeleine Angevine was sitting on a pedestal at the Kitsap County Fair, wearing a purple ribbon that declared it “best in show.”
Fred Abrahamson: 'Best in Show'

The winning wine

October 6, 2010

When Fred Abrahamson, our Fiscal Adviser and Contract Manager, took the long ferry ride back to Kitsap County last month, he found a reward that exceeded his wildest expectations. A bottle of his Madeleine Angevine was sitting on a pedestal at the Kitsap County Fair, wearing a purple ribbon that declared it “best in show.” Another of his bottles, a Chardonnay, was judged to be second only to the Madeleine in the white wine category. All three of his other bottles wore ribbons.

The surprise was that the Madeleine grapevines were only three years old – in their first year of bearing fruit. Fred got only three gallons of juice from his young grapes last year. He carefully nurtured them in his fermenting room – really a room in a storage building on his property on the Hood Canal near Seabeck. He and his wife, Marlene, bottled in February, using bottles she designed and painted.

Fred hasn’t given up his day job. Indeed, he is part of a team that has landed three major grants in the past month. Still, he has a knack for reinventing himself. Before coming to the University of Washington, Fred was the Director of Financial Services at the Washington State Department of Health, where he worked for 30 years. He started there in preventive services, such as vaccination clinics, before he moved into public health management.

Nine months after he retired from the state, Professor Bobbie Berkowitz asked him to manage a program office for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. After five years of full-time work there, he tried to retire again. The NWCPHP persuaded him to come back part-time.

His three days on the Seattle side of the water leave him time to garden (he and Marlene are both Master Gardeners) and make wine. Since Washington’s best red wine grapes are grown east of the Cascades, his Madeleines are the only ones he grows on his property. Still, the blackberries he scavenges from the property next door made a wine fine enough to win a red ribbon at the Kitsap fair.


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