Path To Viticulture Degree Is Paved In Washington

With a growing demand for graduates in the field of agriculture, Washington State University is offering second-year students at Walla Walla and Yakima Valley Community Colleges an opportunity to seamlessly transfer into a variety of four-year degree programs.

The unique partnership between the community colleges and WSU establishes a streamlined pathway for students interested in pursuing a four-year degree in agriculture-related fields, including viticulture and enology, after two years of community college classes.

The latest collaboration has built a bridge connecting both the Enology and Viticulture program at WWCC and the Vineyard Technology program at YVCC to the Viticulture and Enology program at WSU. The partnership also provides a geographic advantage for students seeking an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the heart of southeast Washington’s wine country.

“This agreement creates an ideal framework for students to transition seamlessly into the WSU Viticulture and Enology program,” said Ted Baseler, President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and a member of the WSU Board of Regents. “The Washington wine industry now contributes $8 billion to the state’s economy, and a vital component for sustaining this success is the graduates who are trained to support our grape and wine industries.”

Students who begin their education at YVCC or WWCC and transfer to WSU in the next several years will be some of the first to experience their education at the new WSU Wine Science Center under construction in Richland.

“It provides a great opportunity for students in agriculture and viticulture and enology and the educated workforce the industry needs,” said Thomas Henick-Kling, director of the WSU Viticulture and Enology program. “I am excited about our partnership with WWCC and YVCC and the articulation agreements signed.”

The research and teaching conducted at the Wine Science Center will be specific to the challenges and opportunities faced by grape growers and winemakers in the Pacific Northwest. When the center opens in early 2015, it will be the most technologically advanced wine research and education center in the world.

“The partnership with WSU provides students the opportunity to learn from both practitioners and researchers in their field while taking advantage of our unique hands-on teaching approach and gaining the necessary skills to qualify for high demand, high paying jobs,” said Jessica Gilmore, Dean of Business, Entrepreneurial Programs, and Extended Learning at Walla Walla Community College.

Source: Washington State University

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