KENNEWICK, Wash. – Washington State University President Elson S. Floyd delivered an in-person thank you to Washington grape growers and wine makers this afternoon for their $7.4 million commitment to support a new WSU Wine Science Center facility; he also reaffirmed the university’s long-term commitment to viticulture and enology education and research.
The state’s wine industry agreed late last year to generate the funds for the Wine Science Center through assessments levied on grape and wine production beginning with the 2011 harvest. The Washington State Wine Commission estimates it will collect the total amount over the next decade.
Addressing the 2012 annual meeting of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers, Floyd called the $7.4 million commitment “a giant step forward to ensure that WSU and the industry have the facilities needed to engage in cutting-edge research and education to serve this important industry in the future.”
He also reaffirmed WSU’s role in supporting the industry. “Let me emphasize our long-term commitment to supporting the Washington wine industry from vineyard to glass with the very best teaching, research and extension we have to offer.”
Floyd noted the rich history of the WSU-wine industry partnership. “Together, we have made great strides in building one of the premiere viticulture and enology programs in the nation,” he said.
For example, a decade ago only a handful of faculty members were working on wine-related research and education. Today, more than 30 WSU faculty members dedicate a significant share of their time to wine research and education.
A decade ago, there was no undergraduate degree in viticulture or enology, and only a very few facilities were dedicated to wine research. Today, a stand-alone viticulture and enology major is offered at Pullman and WSU Tri Cities, and nearly 50 students are enrolled. One hundred twenty students are enrolled in the two-year certificate programs WSU offers in both disciplines, and approximately 35 graduate students are working with researchers at Prosser, Pullman and Tri Cities. WSU also has added critical research vineyards and wine research facility at its Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center at Prosser.
The president promised to use new dollars from the industry with care and intention.
”We will make every effort to make certain that this contribution by the growers and wineries of our state will have the maximum impact into the future,” he said.
More information about the Wine Science Center and the WSU Campaign for Wine is available at http://winecampaign.org.