Washington State University President Elson F. Floyd delivered an in-person thank you to the state's grape growers and wine makers this month for their $7.4 million commitment to support a new WSU Wine Science Center facility.
He reaffirmed the university's long-term commitment to viticulture and enology education and research, a proviso of the funding.
The wine industry agreed last year to generate the funding for the Center through assessments levied on grape and wine production beginning with the 2011 harvest. The Washington State
Additional funding from industry for western university agricultural research is solicited as a result in severe state budget cuts for farm-related sciences. The wine industry's response is the type of collaborative involvement which institutions such WSU hope will intensify throughout the agribusiness community.
Addressing the 2012 annual meeting of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers, Floyd called the commitment "a giant step forward to assure that WSU and the industry have the facilities needed to engage in cutting edge research and education to serve this important industry in the future.
"Let me emphasize our long-term commitment to supporting the Washington wine industry from vineyard to glass with the very best teaching, research and extension we have to offer."
Floyd noted the rich history of WSU-wind industry partnership. "Together, we have made great strides in building one of the premier viticulture and enology programs in the nation," he said.
Ten years ago, for example, only a few WSU faculty were working on wine-related research and education. Today, more than 30 at the university dedicate a "significant share" of their time to wine research and education, noted Floyd.
There was also no undergraduate degree in viticulture and enology at WSU a decade ago. Now, Floyd says that a stand-alone viticulture and enology major is offered at the Pullman and Tri-City campuses. Nearly 50 are enrolled in the programs.