Latino viticulture classes graduate
A record number of Latinos complete the Washington viticulture employee education program.
Nineteen students completed the inaugural advanced viticulture class of the Hispanic Orchard Employee Education Program recently, while 25 students graduated from the program’s level one class. The record number of students in the program is equal to the total graduates from the first three years of the level one class offering.
The viticulture program is a unique partnership between the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers and Wenatchee and Yakima community colleges. Wenatchee instructors Leo Garcia and Francisco Sarmiento travel weekly from November to March to teach the courses at Yakima Valley Community College’s Grandview campus.
Students of the level one viticulture class learn about grape plant physiology, canopy management, soils, irrigation, plant nutrition, fruit thinning, harvest, marketing, and financial management. The advanced level students learn of integrated pest management, sustainable viticulture practices, and more.
The annual program represents commitment from both the employee and employer. Many students haven’t been in a classroom for decades, and for some, completing the course and receiving a certificate is their first graduation ceremony. For employers, they must allow workers time away for classroom attendance, but the payback is a more educated and dedicated employee.
Viticulture level one class Courtesy Andrea Baker
Graduates of the 2009-2010 level one viticulture class include:
Estela Bonilla, Stillwater Creek Vineyard, Royal City; Miguel Contreras, Sagemoor Farms, Pasco; Teodoro Cruz, Royal City; Francisco Espindola, Klipsun Vineyards, West Richland; Edilberto Garcia, Sagemoor Farms, Pasco; Victorino Godinez, Klipsun Vineyards, West Richland; Pablo Gonzalez, Martin-Scott Winery, East Wenatchee; Abraham Gonzalez, Naches Heights Vineyard, Yakima; Santiago Guererro, Royal City; Ernesto Hernandez, Sunshine Orchard, Benton City; Gabriel Lepez, DuBrul Vineyards, Sunnyside; Crisoforo Lopez, Ash Hollow Winery, Walla Walla; Gerardo Maldonado, Pasco; Ramon Martinez, Shaw Vineyards, Benton City; Genaro Martinez, Shaw Vineyards, Mattawa; Manuel Medrano, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Paterson; Rigoberto Munoz, Frenchman Hills Vineyards, Othello; Jose Ontiveros, Frenchman Hills Vineyards, Othello; Oscar Perez, Shaw Vineyards, Mattawa; Efrain Quiroz, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Paterson; Carmen Rodriguez, Sagemoor Farms, Pasco; Steven Rodriguez, Sagemoor Farms, Pasco; Policarpio Tapia, Saddle Mountain Vineyard, Mattawa; Rolando Tobon, Klipsun Vineyards, West Richland; Marco Valverde, Familigia LLC, Quincy.
Viticulture level two class Courtesy Andrea Baker
The advanced viticulture graduates are: Joaquin Alvarez, Vinagium LLC, Kennewick; Antonio Ayala, Shaw Vineyards, Beverly; David Ayala, Conner Lee Vineyards, Othello; Reulo Bonilla, Stillwater Creek Vineyard, Royal City; Alberto Camancho, Frenchman Hills Vineyard, Othello; Miguel de la Mora, Sagemoor Vineyards, Pasco; Juan Gallaga, Washington Fruit and Produce Company, Mattawa; Pedro Garcia, Sagemoor Farms, Pasco; Elicio Gil, Dineen Family Vineyards, Zillah; Mario Godinez, Klipsun Vineyards, West Richland; Efren Licea, Dineen Family Vineyards, Zillah; Raymundo Medina, Washington Fruit and Produce Co., Yakima; Jorge Mendoza, Milbrandt Vineyards, Quincy; Carlos Najera, Archie den Hoed Farms, Grandview; Armando Pena-Flores, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Paterson; Rebecca Pickthorn, Wenatchee; Hector Torres, Angiolina Farm, Zillah; Marcial Torres, Angiolina Farm, Zillah; Gabriel Valverde, Familigia, Quincy.
For more information about the program, contact Leo Garcia at (509) 860-2267 or Francisco Sarmiento at (509) 860-2283 or email Garcia at: LGarcia@wvc.edu.