Five viticulture programs offered in Washington

Students across the state can take classes in growing grapes, making wine.

By Sheryl Harris

For the Capital Press

Published on September 7, 2017 9:10AM


In Washington state, five college or technical school programs are available to launch students into careers in the wine industry. Once prepared, students can enjoy many careers in the industry.

Washington State University offers a bachelor’s, a master’s and a doctoral degree in viticulture and enology-related fields.

Courses are taught at the Pullman campus and at the Richland campus, where WSU has the largest research winery in the Pacific Northwest. WSU offers a major, minor, and certificate in Wine Business Management through the College of Business. Professional certificates are offered in viticulture or enology, each a one-year program with hands-on camps at Richland or Prosser.

Central Washington University’s program offers a bachelor of science in Global Wine Studies and a minor in Wine, Trade and Tourism. Faculty-guided field experience throughout Europe is required. In the future, they hope to offer a Wine Trade Certificate and a Sommelier Certificate.

South Seattle College, through its Northwest Wine Academy, features Puget Ridge Winery, the only complete operating winery at a college in Western Washington. Three professional certificate programs are offered: Wine Making, Wine Marketing & Sales and Food and Wine Pairing. The associates of applied sciences degree and the transfer degree (associates of applied science-T) cover the same three major areas.

Yakima Valley Community College offers degrees in Agribusiness, Food Technology, Vineyard Technology, and Winery Technology. Transfer degrees are offered in Associate of Applied Science Agribusiness, Associate of Applied Science Vineyard, and a Technology Transfer Degree. YVCC currently offers a professional certificate program in Wine Sales, but is in the process of adding two certificates (Vineyard Technology and Winery Technology) in collaboration with South Seattle College and Wenatchee College. Brad Smith, Certified Sommelier II with the Yakima program, says all classes are available in the evenings, and all resources are available online.

He also says the program has nearly 100 percent job placement.

Walla Walla Community College’s Institute for Enology and Viticulture includes a state-of-the-art winery at College Cellars and 5 acres of teaching vineyards. Students, under the direction of the Director of Viticulture, take care of these vineyards. Danielle Swan-Froese says, “WWCC is a Workforce Education program well known for hands-on experiences. We prepare students to work in the industry.”

WWCC offers an AAAS in Enology and Viticulture, AAAS in Wine Business, AAAS-T Enology and Viticulture. An internship is required where students experience working in the college winery and one other.

Two professional certificate programs are offered: the Viticulture Science Certificate after the program’s first year, and Fermentation Science Certificate after completing the second year.

Lake Washington Institute of Technology recently offered two programs of study, but according to Admission Coach Mary Powers, they have been discontinued.

Each institution feeding into the industry presents different courses, certificates, career opportunities, and scholarships. Scholarships information should be requested at the institution of choice.



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