The Wine Science Center broke ground last month, as the latest step in the Washington wine industry’s global growth. The $23 million dollar center, a public-private partnership to create a facility for WSU’s wine programs, is intended to benefit the state wineries and vineyards in the same way that University of California at Davis benefited California’s wine industry. With classrooms, faculty offices, lab facilities, and, more unusually, a wine library, will allow better development and ongoing evaluation of new wine varieties, an increase in the number of students in WSU’s viticulture and oenology programs, and space for extension programs to benefit the wine industry.
Washington’s wine industry has been on the global scene since the registration of the Yakima Valley as an AVA (American Viticultural Area) in the early 1980s. The state has since registered 12 more AVAs, and the need for local research and industry support has only grown; that’s a need the new Wine Science Center aims to fill. As Steve Warner, president of the Washington Wine Commission pointed out, “If we’re this good in 30 years, how great can we be in the future?”
The boom in Washington wine, both domestically and globally, certainly argues that the future is on its way.