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WSU Tri‑Cities launches online certificate program to train winery, tasting room servers

Washington State University Tri-Cities has launched a new online Wine Tasting Room Certificate program that trains winery and tasting room servers on wine business customer service, knowledge of Washington wines, sensory attributes of wine, as well as suggestions for selling wine.

The course, which costs $249, is comprised of four modules that take approximately eight hours to complete:

  • Exploring wine
  • Wines of Washington
  • Keys to proper wine service and sales
  • Wine tasting, evaluation and food pairing

“We worked closely with winery owners and tasting room managers to determine their needs and develop content that is specifically geared toward what wineries require for customer experience,” said Joan Giese, WSU Tri-Cities Carson College of Business director of lifelong learning. “The outcomes of this program are well-trained servers that are confident in their abilities to know, serve and sell wine, as well as well-served guests that are delighted with enjoyable tasting room experiences.”

For more information and to sign-up visit the Wine Tasting Room Certificate program website. 

Within the modules, individuals who complete the course will learn about:

  • How wine is made
  • Styles of wine
  • Types of grapes
  • Unique aspects of Washington wines
  • American viticultural areas specific to Washington state
  • How to deliver great wine service to guests, including suggestions for selling wine and wine club memberships
  • How to taste and describe wines
  • How to serve wine flights
  • How to determine wine faults
  • How to make suggestions for wine and food pairings

“Upon testing this course in partnership with regional wineries, it has shown to provide winery and tasting room servers with the quality knowledge they need to enter into the profession, as well as a great baseline knowledge of what to know when working with customers in wine businesses,” Giese said.

For questions about the Wine Tasting Room Certificate program, email

WSU Tri-Cities is one of a few universities nationwide that feature both programs in wine and beverage business management and wine science on the same campus. It is home to the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center – one of only a handful of comprehensive wine research facilities in the world.

Visit the WSU Tri-Cities website for more information on the wine and beverage business management and viticulture and enology programs. 

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