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Certificate courses provide flexibility, enhance wine program

Posted by kaury.balcom | November 17, 2016
Certificate students use a pressure chamber instrument during the Fall 2016 Grape Camp
Certificate students use a pressure chamber instrument during the Fall 2016 Grape Camp

Wine education programs are changing at WSU to meet the needs of a growing and diverse industry.

Since 2006, WSU has offered Bachelor of Science, graduate and certificate programs in Viticulture & Enology through the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences. In response to growing demand, School of Hospitality Business Management in the Carson College of Business developed a Wine Business Management major and minor.

This January, the School of Hospitality will add the Wine Business Management Certificate Program, expanding the list of wine-related studies offered at WSU.

“The new program is geared toward students from a variety of backgrounds who are interested in the business of wine as a career. This includes those already in the wine or beverage industry wanting additional business knowledge, individuals wanting to make a career change, or those wanting to embark on wine business entrepreneurial activities,” said Robert Harrington, WSU professor of hospitality and wine business management.

Non-credit, professional certificate programs are geared toward those who are seriously interested in working in the wine industry or expanding their knowledge to enhance their current position.  Students have the flexibility to complete the course on their own time in an online format. Students are also required to participate in two weekend experiences held in Washington wine country. These hands-on, face-to-face experiences provide students with an opportunity to network with peers, industry professionals and instructors.

Research winemaker, Richard Larsen (right) and enology certificate students look at grape clusters during Fall 2016 wine camp
Research winemaker, Richard Larsen (right) and enology certificate students look at grape clusters during Fall 2016 wine camp

Based on current demand for WSU’s other wine-related certificate programs in viticulture and enology, the Wine Business Management Program is expected to be very popular. Since these programs began in 2003, 608 students hailing from 30 states and four countries have received certificates. Currently, prospective students wait up to two years for a seat in the enology program and 6-12 months for viticulture.

“The wait list for the enology certificate is long, but students are willing to wait due to its strong reputation and the weekend camps, which offer valuable networking and hands-on opportunities,” said Theresa Beaver, WSU certificate program coordinator. “Our courses and camps prepare students for the realities of working in the wine industry. After completing our certificate program, many students have advanced their careers in the industry. To date, our students have started 60 wineries and vineyards, many within the Pacific Northwest.”

Students must successfully complete the full program in order to receive the certificate of completion, but self-directed, individual modules are available if they have a particular interest and limited time or financial resources. Certificates are not awarded to those who complete self-directed, individual models.

The online curriculum will prepare students for careers in viticulture, enology, and wine business and is taught by WSU faculty and leaders from the wine industry.

“We have seen tremendous success in the viticulture and enology certificate programs,” said Thomas Henick-Kling, director of the WSU Viticulture & Enology Program. “Not only are students finding jobs but they are becoming entrepreneurs and contribute to the wine industry across the world.”

Enology certificate students practice lab skills during the Fall 2016 Wine Camp
Enology certificate students practice lab skills during the Fall 2016 Wine Camp

To register for the certificate program in wine business management, visit https://business.wsu.edu/departments/hospitality/wbm-certificate-program/.

For more information or to register for the viticulture and enology certificate programs, visit http://wine.wsu.edu/education/certificate/.

Contact:

Kaury Balcom, Public Relations and Communications Coordinator, WSU Viticulture & Enology Program, 509-372-7223, kaury.balcom@wsu.edu