A $1 million donation to Washington State University from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and its parent company, Altria Group, Inc., will support the university’s wine science programs.
The grant will support the viticulture and enology program and particularly research efforts that will help the industry become more competitive and environmentally sustainable.
It will provide a start-up package for an analytical or “aroma” chemist that the university plans to hire this year to analyze the impact of various grape-growing and wine-making practices on wine flavor, according to Dr. Thomas Henick-Kling, director of the viticulture and enology program. While state funds will cover salary and benefits for the position, the industry funding will enable the university to fill the position as soon as possible.
The donation follows a $7.4 million commitment by the Washington wine industry for construction of the university’s new Wine Science Center. WSU President Elson Floyd told members of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers at their annual meeting in Kennewick on February 8 that WSU is uniquely positioned to help address the shortage of trained personnel and research challenges that the wine industry faces.