Wine Science Center nearly complete

Members of the viticulture and enology program at Washington State University are packing to move into their new digs on the Tri-Cities campus this spring.

Construction of the $23-million Wine Science Center has reached substantial completion, and Lydig Construction is working through the “punch list” to finish the 39,300-square-foot, LEED Silver-certified research and teaching facility.

The construction has progressed to the point that the Richland City Council voted this month to disband the development authority whose board members oversaw Wine Science Center construction and managed the finances. That development authority has successfully completed its mission and is turning over $98,000 of unused funds to the WSU Foundation.

That money will go into the Wine Science Center construction fund, which will pay for remaining unfinished rooms as well as equipment purchases. Rooms yet to be finished are a teaching laboratory and three plant growth chambers.

The growth chambers will provide important research capacity, allowing scientists to study grapevines under a wide range of temperatures and light and irrigation levels. This research will provide the Washington wine industry with better management tools for their vineyards, to support premium grape production, preserve resources, and prepare for climate change.

A grand opening for the Wine Science Center is planned for early June, but program director Thomas Henick-Kling recently toured the facility with Tri-Cities’ KEPR Action News. For a sneak peek at the facility, check out reporter Davis Wahlman’s video report “WSU’s Wine Science Center is state of the art.”



– Erika Holmes