Walla Walla not only offers visitors a chance to buy and taste great wine, but the city also offers wine lovers a chance to produce great wine. Walla Walla’s Institute of Enology and Viticulture provides wine enthusiasts with a unique opportunity that cannot be turned down easily: the opportunity to learn how to grow their own grapes and turn them into satisfying varietals that they can claim as their own.
The institute’s campus – officially a part of Walla Walla Community College – approaches its curriculum in a hands-on style that is aimed toward teaching its students everything about wine including vineyard management, growing quality grapes and strategies on how to market your wine. The goal of the institute is to “facilitate alliances with vintners and viticulturists in the Walla Walla Valley and throughout Washington State [to] promote the economic development of the wine industry [and] provide education and training for those with an interest in the industry.”
The institute offers wine makers of all levels an opportunity earn an associates degree in applied arts or a science degree in enology and viticulture from a curriculum that is approved by local and regional industry members. Credits from the Institute will transfer to a four-year university, if you wish to further pursue a four-year degree. You might look into wine related scholarships to help you pay for your education.
Although the institute is flexible about when students can attend-joining in the winter, fall or spring quarters is an option-it is best to start in the fall as this is when the curriculum is ultimately based. If you are worried that the early classes may be too easy for you, the institute offers placement tests so you can start right from where you are knowledgeable.
Besides needing a love for wine, the institute requires that applicants are at least 18 years old and are physically able to lift objects that weight up to 50 pounds. Perhaps the best part of the institute is that after graduation, you are prepared for work in the wine industry as a vineyard manager, cellar master, viticulturist, winemaker, or lab technician. After graduation, the possibilities are endless and perhaps you could become a part of a tradition that has been going on since 65 million years ago!