Date:December 02, 2015

Auction of Washington Wines boosts wine industry’s research program


SEATTLE (Dec. 2, 2015) – Research coordinated by the Washington State Wine Commission received a major boost from the Auction of Washington Wines. A $200,000 contribution will help support viticulture and enology research next year at Washington State University.

“Washington State’s wine industry is very appreciative of the Auction of Washington Wines’ support,” said Steve Warner, president of Washington State Wine. “The contribution represents a significant portion of funds that are annually spent on research projects and will allow funding of additional projects.”

The research program’s overall goal is to improve wine quality. Guided by Wine Advisory Committee, – led by the Washington State Wine Commission – the organization representing all wineries and grape growers in the state – the program sets priorities, reviews proposals and makes recommendations for funding. Topics studied range from fermentation management and impact of viticultural practices on fruit composition and wine flavor to grapevine viruses, pests and diseases. In the current research funding cycle, about $860,000 were spent on projects.

Research for Washington State’s wine industry has taken new significance with the opening of WSU’s Wine Science Center at its Tri-Cities campus in Richland. The state’s grape growers and winery owners played a major role in bringing the $23-million facility to fruition by taxing themselves as part of industry assessments paid to Washington State Wine. The industry’s commitment to research represents about a third of the center’s construction costs.

“This contribution is very important to our vision because it allows us to expand and strengthen our research program,” said Dr. Thomas Henick-Kling, director of Washington State University’s Viticulture and Enology Program. “Additional research monies provide opportunity for long-term research planning and help support extension-type research.”

The $200,000 donation was part of a record-breaking $2.5 million raised during the 28th annual Auction of Washington Wines, a fundraising weekend in August that includes winemaker dinners, picnic and barrel auction, and a wine gala.

About the Washington State Wine Commission:                                                            

The Washington State Wine Commission represents every licensed winery and wine grape grower in Washington State. Guided by an appointed board, WSWC provides a marketing platform to raise positive awareness of the Washington State wine industry and generate greater demand for its wines. Funded almost entirely by the industry through assessments based on grape and wine sales, the WSWC is a state government agency, established by the legislature in 1987. To learn more, visit

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