Vineyard & Winery Technology Program earn honors at the Great Northwest Wine Platinum competition

Yakima Valley Vintners (YVV), Yakima Valley College’s teaching winery, received multiple honors at the prestigious 2022 Great Northwest Wine Platinum Competition. YVV’s 2017 Red Backpack Red Wine received double platinum while the 2018 Dean’s List Merlot and 2017 Senioritis Red Blend each earned platinum honors. In addition, double-gold honors were presented to YVV’s 2017 Final Exam Cabernet Franc and 2018 Foreign Exchange Touriga Naçional.

All award-winning wines submitted by Yakima Valley Vintners were produced by students completing course work in YVC’s Vineyard & Winery Technology program. The wines are marketed through the program at YVC’s Grandview Campus, which houses a winery facility and tasting room. All wines submitted were judged blindly by a panel of prominent wine professionals. YVC student wines were included with all of the other commercial wineries during the competition.

Each year, Great Northwest Wine builds upon the history of the Platinum Awards, a competition staged each October with a tradition that is unlike any other in the Pacific Northwest. In preparation for the Platinum Awards competition, Great Northwest Wine tracks more than 50 professionally judged wine competitions worldwide. They then compile a list of wines that won gold medals during the previous 12 months and were produced with fruit from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Idaho or Montana. The winners are invited to enter their wines for Platinum Awards. Entries are then categorized and judged blind, and wines are awarded based on the majority of the judges’ votes. For entries that all judges on the panel deem worthy of platinum honors, that wine is awarded double platinum. Wines are also rated on a 100-point scale and make up the top wines for “The Best of the Best”.

2022 Best of the Best judging results for Yakima Valley Vintners are as follows. With these awards, YVV’s total of Platinum honors is 12, more than any other winemaking school in the Pacific Northwest.

Double Platinum 94 Points
2017 Red Backpack Red Wine, Columbia Valley
Judges noted this blend of Petit Verdot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, which changes annually with each class of future winemakers, “fills Pee-Chee portfolio with notes of brambleberries, Bing cherry and Jolly Rancher grape candy, joined by a sense of smoked meat and mint, leading to a bit of Pepperidge Farm Toasted Marshmallow Milano cookie,” as written in the Winter 2023 issue of Great Northwest Wine Magazine.

Platinum 94 Points
2018 Dean’s List Merlot, Yakima Valley
Judges highlighted the blends denoted as “Dean’s List” during this year’s competition, the third Platinum given for work featuring Merlot stating that, “it shows remarkable elegance with its food-friendly approach. Black fruit, pepper and sweet herbs with a gorgeous core of blueberry compote make it complex and long,” as written in the Winter 2023 issue of Great Northwest Wine Magazine.

Platinum 93 Points
2017 Senioritis Red Wine, Columbia Valley

This Tempranillo (53%) and Primitivo (47%) blend had judges thinking about summertime. Their notes “focused on a theme of strawberry and marionberry with a sense of smoke and deliciously long trail of maple and molasses,” as written in the Winter 2023 issue of Great Northwest Wine Magazine.

Limited quantities of YVV’s award winners 2017 Red Backpack, 2017 Senioritis Red Blend and 2018 Touriga Nacional are still available for purchase online at and at tasting rooms on the Yakima and Grandview campuses.

For more information about Yakima Valley Vintners and the Yakima Valley College Vineyard and Winery Technology Program: or call 509.882.7007.

Press Release Contacts:
Dustin Wunderlich / 509.574.6870 /
Stefanie Menard / 509.574.4646 /