WSU Program Features Science and Business of Wine
Thomas Henick-Kling has no difficulty explaining what sets Washington State University’s wine program apart from the rest.
“Our students are taught by excellent faculty who are active researchers in the field, and that’s very important” said the program’s new director. WSU offers a bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in every aspect of grape production and wine making. The four-year undergraduate degree is offered at Pullman and the Tri Cities, while the others can be accomplished at Pullman, Tri Cities and Prosser. The university also offers a V&E certificate online with some all-day instruction on campus and in area vineyards and wineries.
Henick-Kling says he appreciates the joint location of the WSU wine program at the Pullman campus and at WSU Tri Cities. “It is ideal for students and faculty,” he said. “Almost literally 90 percent of the Washington wine industry is within an hour’s drive of the Tri Cities campus, so many of our students and faculty are in the middle of a major wine producing area. The involvement by industry is just tremendous.”
One of the world’s premier wine scientists, Henick-Kling assumed his new responsibilities with WSU in March. He was formerly a professor of enology and director of the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre at Charles Sturt University in Australia and before that a professor of 20 years at Cornell University with especially strong partnerships in Europe.
The new director’s international experience already is benefitting WSU’s program. He is working with former university colleagues as well as wine growers and enologists in Germany, France and Australia on developing research collaborations and student internships. “While the students may leave the state for a while, many of them will return to Washington with a new perspective they can apply to their work here,” he said.
And with 600 wineries scattered throughout the state, jobs are available for those who finish.
“The demand for graduates is higher than the number of graduates we have, and that’s just within Washington state,” Henick-Kling said. He noted that alumni of the WSU V&E program have the skills to become assistant winemakers upon completion of their degrees, and “some of them very quickly will be primary winemakers because the job market is so hot right now.”
Henick-Kling said he doesn’t see that growth slowing anytime soon.
“The industry continues to be growing right and still has a lot of capacity to grow and diversify within Washington state,” he said. “The marketshare of Washington wines within the state is going to grow, and we still haven’t fully accessed markets in the U.S. and overseas.”
Celebrate Washington Wine
Mark your calendars for the ninth annual Celebrate Washington Wine gala reception and auction, January 30, 2010, 6 p.m. at Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, Wash.
Join Thomas Henick-Kling for a spectacular evening featuring fine food, exceptional wines and silent and live auctions at the Ninth Annual Black Tie Reception.
Proceeds from the auction benefit the viticulture and enology program at Washington State University. For tickets and more information, please visit www.wineauction.wsu.edu.
“Please join me in supporting Washington State University’s Ninth Annual Celebrate Washington Wine! With your support, we are building a world-class wine science research and education program at WSU. Our program supports the growth of the Washington wine industry and rural communities across Washington State. Thank you for being part of this project!” — Thomas Henick-Kling, director of WSU’s Viticulture and Enology program.