Growing Idaho's wine industry through education

Posted at 9:45 AM, Oct 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-26 11:45:04-04

It's Wine Week here on Good Morning Idaho.

Today, we look into Viticulture and Enology, which is the study of grapes and wine.

"It's a passionate, happy industry," said Brenna Christison.

She's talking about Idaho's wine industry.

Brenna Christison works for the Idaho Wine Commission, a government agency that promotes Idaho wineries and growers. 

Viticulture and Enology is the study of grapes of wine. 

Idaho does not have a program, but Washington State University in Pullman does.

"And that's where a lot of our people that are interested in learning more about the wine industy go to further their education," said Christison.

She said starting a program of its kind in Idaho has been a topic of conversation, but the program at Washington State fulfills most of the need here in the Gem State.

"It's always comes down to the fact that Washington State's has been around for so long that why, why should we recreate the wheel," Christison said.

And to those who are interested, the Idaho Wine Commission has scholarship opportunities.

"We at the Wine Commission have a scholarship that helps fund that as well, in the hope that people come back to Idaho and start their own wineries."

She says the Idaho Wine Commission is there to help people further their education.

"We are also funded through I.S.D.A. grants, specialty crop grants, and we have a program with U.C. Davis where we are sending ten of our industry members down to U.C. Davis to further their education, and those are about a one-day seminar." 

A graduate from Washington State Univeristy, Patrick Williamson now works in the wine industry in the Treasure Valley. 

He's the vineyard manager at Williamson Orchards in Caldwell.

He says the relationship between the viticulturist and the wine maker is a team effort. 

"The viticulturist is like the, if you think of it like the band, uh you know, whether it's a jazz band or a rock band, you need a base, so your rhythm sections, so we are the drums and base," said Williamson.

And that relationship is vital to producing the final product. 

"That's kind of where the science and the art kind of comes together, to make this finished product and so that's always a lot of fun," said Williamson.

The scholarship is funded through what's called the Wheel of Wine at Savor Idaho.
The Idaho Wine Commission's scholarship application is open right now,
If you're interested, here's a link. Click here
It closes November 1st.