PULLMAN  – For the second year, the gala “A Celebration of Washington Wines” auction has brought $235,000 to benefit the WSU Viticulture and Enology Program.
 
Nearly 200 people attended the seventh annual gala held Jan. 26 at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, Wash.
 
Throughout its history the event has grossed more than $1 million to benefit a program that trains aspiring wine makers and grape growers, through certificate programs and a four-year horticulture degree.
 
“This year’s proceeds will continue to build the endowment fund for the world-renowned chair in viticulture and enology that we are currently recruiting,” said Dan Bernardo, dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. “Thanks to both those who attended and those who donated to the auction for helping WSU to create a ‘perfect pairing’ of a world-class viticulture and enology program in partnership with Washington’s world-class wine industry.”
 
WSU and the Washington wine industry have a long history together. Washington’s wine industry grew out of research done at WSU more than a half-century ago, which determined that premium European wine grape varietals could be successfully grown in the state.
 
Washington is second only to California in domestic wine production, and its wines are internationally known for their premium quality. A recent analysis pegged the wine industry’s total economic benefit to the state at $3 billion annually.
 
Today, there are more than 500 wineries in the state and more than 30,000 acres in wine grape production.
 
For more information or to donate to the endowment, contact the WSU Foundation at (509)335-8419 or foundation@wsu.edu/.
 
More information about the auction can be found at www.wineauction.wsu.edu/.