Washington State University students can now earn a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology, according to a news release from WSU.

The university’s board of regents approved the new degree in May, and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities gave the final approval to make the degree official.

The degree program will be based on the WSU Tri-Cities campus, where the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center is located. The degree will first be included on diplomas for students graduating in fall 2020.

“Given our proximity to the wine industry in the mid-Columbia region in Washington, as well as the location of the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center on our campus, this is the perfect location for the home of the V&E program and degree,” said Sandra Haynes, WSU Tri-Cities chancellor, in the release. “Students will have direct access to a variety of industry experiences and research opportunities in the heart of Washington wine country.”

Previously, students could earn a degree in integrated plant sciences with a major in viticulture and enology, and they could choose to pursue the major on the Pullman or the Tri-Cities campus. Going forward, all students must finish at least the last two years of the viticulture and enology degree at the Tri-Cities campus. 

Current Pullman students who have previously declared V&E as their major will be grandfathered in and can finish in either Pullman or Tri-Cities. New V&E students have the option to complete their degree entirely at WSU Tri-Cities or start in Pullman and finish the degree in Tri-Cities.

“We’re very happy about completing this final step for adding the viticulture and enology degree for students at WSU and in our college,” said André-Denis Wright, dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, in the release. “We’ve been working closely with the wine industry, and having this new degree will help our students stand out in this competitive and growing industry.”

A portion of all wine sales in Washington state goes directly to support wine research at WSU.

by Jonelle Mejica