Washington State University Tri-Cities’ recently expanded vineyard will welcome visitors Dec. 4 so the university’s viticulture and enology program can thank donors.
The university will offer free public tours Thursday of the two-acre Albert Ravenholt Research and Teaching Vineyard located at George Washington Way and Sprout Street in north Richland, officials said. Student-made wines made at wineries where they work with professionals in the wine industry also will be for sale.
University officials emphasized the importance of the small vineyard on the Richland campus providing an immediate opportunity for students to get into the field that’s not available on the Pullman campus.
“It’s a great complement here in the Tri-Cities to the larger irrigated agriculture research station in Prosser,” Erika Holmes, spokeswoman for the viticulture and enology program, told the Herald.
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The vineyard, founded in 2007 and comprised of vines producing grapes such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, provides a resource for staff and students to conduct research. Several wineries, vineyards and other businesses donated to the recent expansion.
The foundation of the research vineyard’s namesake, Sagemoor Vineyards founder Albert Ravenholt, also recently gave $500,000 to the viticulture and enology program.
“We are thankful for our engaged wine industry partners who have generously donated their knowledge, hard labor and vineyard supplies,” said Thomas Henick-Kling, the program’s director.
While there is a much larger vineyard available to students and their research at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Experiment Center in Prosser, Holmes said the WSU Tri-Cities vineyard is often the first resource students use to get experience in the field.
Environmental science graduate student Gretchen Graber will use the newest part of the vineyard to to study how certain grasses grown as ground covers can prevent invasive weeds in vineyards.
The WSU Wine Science Center, the soon-to-be new home of the viticulture and enology program near the research vineyard, won’t be ready for tours until the spring. Campus visitors still can see some activity there in the coming weeks. Holmes said staff might begin moving in this month.