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WSU pursues endowment for viticulture and enology chair

PULLMAN  – WSU is launching a $1.5 million fundraising campaign to create the position of Endowed Chair of Viticulture and Enology. 

“This endowment will be used to attract a world-class leader for this growing program,” said Dan Bernardo, CAHNRS dean.  “We intend to recruit not only an internationally recognized scientist, but an individual with the expertise to expand research and marketing activities within the program.”

Fundraising for the endowment will begin with the sixth annual Celebration of Washington Wines auction being held Jan. 27 at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville.  All proceeds from the sold out event will go directly to the viticulture and enology endowment fund.

“We’ll be working closely with the wine industry and with private donors in the coming months and years to build and sustain the fund so that our program can help our wine industry continue to grow and thrive,” Bernardo said.  “It’s the fastest growing sector in Washington agriculture and we want to expand our program to meet the needs and goals of the industry.”

Those goals include a continuing commitment to world-class research, having more well-trained and skilled workers within the state, continuing to develop wine grapes with high-quality characteristics, ensuring proper variety selection for Washington’s varied grape-growing regions and developing new and expanding existing markets for Washington wines. 

WSU’s viticulture and enology program was established seven years ago in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences to provide a well-trained workforce for Washington’s growing wine industry.

WSU’s viticulture and enology program offers a Bachelor of Science as well as certificate programs in viticulture and enology.  The program emphasizes the science of wine-grape growing and wine making, preparing students for leadership roles in the industry.

Washington’s wine industry grew out of research done at WSU more than a half-century ago that determined that premium European wine grape varietals could be successfully grown in state.

Washington currently is second only to California in domestic wine production and its wines are internationally known for their premium quality.  According to the Washington Wine Commission, the wine industry’s total economic benefit to the state is estimated at $3 billion annually.  More than 30,000 acres in the state are in wine grape production.

For more information or to donate to the endowment contact the WSU Foundation at 509/335-8419 or .

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