Donations, New Wine Business Major, Eleventh AVA

Equipment Donations Add Value to WSU Research, Keep Facility State of the Art

Students set up new filter

Students set up new filter.

For more information about research projects at the WSU winery, please visit:

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The well-known vendor of filtering equipment for wineries, Carlson North America, has donated a $6,000 filter to the WSU research winery.

“We hope this donation is of use to your research facility and hope that these items help in the education of your students,” said Mark Bannister, Carlson brand manager.

Located at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, WSU’s research winery is the largest in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to small-lot research winemaking, the facility is also used to provide students with technical training in winery setup and equipment management.

The 20-cm plate and frame filter, said WSU enologist Kerry Ringer, will definitely be useful in small-lot research projects.

“We’re really grateful for the donation,” Ringer said. “It’s a cool filter, all stainless steel. At a recent wine camp,” which brought professional certificate program students from all over the country, “students got to learn how to set it up. They were impressed! It was great for us, too, as it allowed us to give the students hands-on experience in setting up a filter.”

Ringer and her colleague, enologist James Harbertson, designed the research winery to meet the needs of Washington’s premium wine industry. In the near future, Harbertson and Ringer plan to conduct filtration experiments in order to address industry concerns about filtration removing flavor. They’ve prepared by obtaining pad, cross-flow and sterile filtration systems.

“The perception among winemakers is that filtration removes the volatile compounds that give wine its flavor and nose,” said Harbertson. “We want to find out if that’s true or not.”

Sterile filtration, which Harbertson described as the “gold standard” in filtration systems, removes microorganisms. “Not filtering wine risks Brettanomyces outbreaks,” Ringer pointed out. Brettanomyces is a type of yeast that can cause off odors and flavors.

“For the facility to remain state of the art and to stay current with equipment being used in the industry, donations of equipment are really important,” Ringer said. “Barrels and other consumables are really important right now, as is equipment used in small-lot winemaking, such as a membrane press and pump.”

New Wine Business Major Offered at WSU

Pour it on: WSU meets industry needs by creating new major in the business of wine.
Pour it on: WSU meets industry needs by creating new major in the business of wine.

WSU recently approved the addition of a wine business management major as part of the courses offered by the School of Hospitality Management in the College of Business. The new major will be offered to students beginning fall 2009.

“This new major is unique to hospitality programs in America. It is also highly interdisciplinary and draws on the many strengths at WSU,” said Dennis Reynolds, SHBM’s Ivar B. Haglund Endowed Chair. “We are excited to be able to offer the new program, which students can put to use in Washington’s own growing wine industry.”

Developed in response to the growth and significance of the wine business within Washington state, the program’s overarching objective is to provide a pool of skilled business leaders focused on the burgeoning wine industry. Toward this effort, graduates of the program will be educated across a broad range of wine business areas from the management of wine production to the identification and development of demand generators.

“This program is well tailored to the future needs of the premium wine industry in Washington State and other regions,” said Ted Baseler, president and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

For more information about the Wine Business Management program, please visit:

Washington’s Eleventh AVA is Here

Lake Chelan is Washington's newest AVA. Photo courtesy Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce.

Lake Chelan is Washington’s newest AVA. Photo courtesy Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce.

In a sign of just how fast the Washington wine industry is expanding, the state’s 11th American Viticultural Area recently received federal approval. The Lake Chelan AVA, already a much loved tourist destination, is now the hub of a new wine-grape growing and winemaking community.

“The increasing number of Washington AVAs really speaks to the phenomenal growth and maturity of our state’s wine industry,” Robin Pollard, executive director of the Washington Wine Commission, told Eastside Business. “We celebrate the great variety of soils and climates in our state and the AVA designations allow each appellation to distinguish their wines from the others.”

With its elevation, soils and proximity to Lake Chelan, the new AVA has unique characteristics that give grapes grown there the complexity sought by the state’s premium winemakers. Because the lake acts as a heat pump, storing solar radiation in the summer and releasing in the fall, the new AVA has a prolonged growing season.

The Lake Chelan AVA currently has 15 wineries and more than 250 acres planted in grapes.