Washington Wine Industry Leaders Gather at WSU Tri-Cities Aug. 17

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — Leaders of Washington state’s fast-growing and always changing wine industry gather for a series of roundtable discussions and a pre-harvest Industry Update Aug. 17 at Washington State University Tri-Cities. The meetings will begin at 1 p.m. in the Consolidated Information Center on the North Richland campus.

Representatives of the Washington Enology and Viticulture Education Consortium are expected to present new educational opportunities available beginning this fall. The Consortium includes WSU, Walla Walla Community College, Columbia Basin College and Yakima Valley Community College.

WSU President V. Lane Rawlins is scheduled to make comments on the university’s expanding support for the industry. In addition, the schedule of continuing educational offerings for grape growers and wine makers from WSU’s Cooperative Extension Service will be outlined.

Industry leaders expected to attend include Norm McKibben, chairman of the Washington Wine Commission and general manager and owner of Pepper Bridge Winery of Walla Walla. Executive director of the Washington Wine Commission, Steve Burns, will also be attending and will make a presentation on “Global Competitiveness and the Economic Impact of the Washington Wine Industry.” Education issues in the industry will also be covered in the afternoon sessions.

“WSU Tri-Cities will begin offering classes this fall intended to lead to a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree, with an emphasis in viticulture (grape growing) and enology (wine making),” says Tri-Cities dean and campus executive officer Larry James.

The new offerings will begin with a course in horticulture this fall at WSU Tri-Cities. The dean will also outline future potential educational opportunities in the field at the WSU Tri-Cities campus.

Included in the afternoon sessions will be a synopsis of WSU’s current and near-term research for grape growers and winemakers and a presentation on the history of WSU’s research and extension in viticulture and enology.