Alumni Spotlight

Braden Mortensen

AA-S in Vineyard Technology, AA-S in Winery Technology

Current position: "Jack of all Trades" at Two Mountain Winery

Why did you choose YVCC Vineyard and Winery Technology program?

It was convenient and inexpensive, but the hands-on teaching was a real plus.  Having teachers that actually work in the industry to teach you from their experiences rather than just textbooks is great and you learn a heck of a lot better.

When you started college, what were your career goals?  Have they changed since you've graduated?

Initially, I wasn't sure what my goals were.  I was just kind of undecided, considering my options available at YVCC.  There was business or the medical field as options as well as Vineyard & Winery Tech.  I'd been working for Two Mountain winery for about a year when I started school.  I decided to take Intro to Washington Wines and from there I was hooked.  Now, I'm focused on this industry.  I can really see myself in the wine industry for 20, 30, 40 years down the road. I'm still not sure what I want to do within the industry specifically.  I feel like I have time to decide that still.  It could be wine marketing, start my own winery or get into winery management somewhere.

What are the skills learned at YVCC that you find yourself using in your career?

Definitely the lab work and vineyard work.  I'm more familiar with the techniques used in those areas.  I like that I'm able to take the skills that I've learned and apply them in different ways to get to the same end point: really good wine.

What was the best part of YVCC for you?

The best part was the "hands-on" learning.  Being able to see the whole process: from growing and training to harvest, all the way to bottling and having product ready to sell.

What is your favorite part of this industry?

I like how this really isn't an exact science.  With the weather and the fruit, really all the different variables, you get a lot of creative freedom.

What are your next steps?

I'm taking this quarter off then going back to YVCC.  Even though I've already got 2 degrees, one in Vineyard Technology and one in Winery Technology, I'd like to get some credits so I'll be able to transfer to Central Washington University to attend their Global Wine program.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?

Don't be afraid to get messy!  It really pays off to get hands-on experience both at school and in the workplace.  I had a great time at YVCC, especially when I could take skills I learned in class to work and skills from work to class.​