Samantha Mallery

Degree Class Year 
Associate of Applied Science in Winery Technology, 2020, Associate of Applied Science in Vineyard Technology, 2023 and Bachelor of Applied Science in Agricultural Sciences, 2024 

Selah, Wash.  

President, Agribusiness and Wine Club, and Mentor, Alliance of Women in Washington Wine 

What three words would you use to describe YVC? 
Accessible, Flexible, Inclusive 

Job Title, Organization 
Winemaker, Dineen Vineyards 

What made you want to come to Yakima Valley College? 
YVC offered the most hands-on and cost-effective wine-specific program available to me. The accessibility of these programs, working with the schedule of a working parent like myself, along with hybrid class models, made pursuing my passion in the wine industry a practical and enriching experience. I would highly recommend! 

How did you choose your major? 
I discovered my passion for the wine industry and I never looked back. The programs at YVC not only deepened my understanding but also provided me with a comprehensive knowledge and foundation for everything I could possibly need in my career. 

What have you been doing since graduation? 
Since graduating and concurrently attending these programs, I have been fully immersed in the wine industry — working full-time. Engaging in various extracurricular activities and volunteer opportunities within the industry and at YVC, I’ve been fortunate to be part of an industry with remarkable camaraderie. Through this journey, I’ve not only gained extensive knowledge but also had the privilege to share my expertise with others. Starting as an enologist at Owen Roe Winery, I’ve steadily advanced to the position of Winemaker at Dineen Vineyards. 

What would you say is the most important thing you learned at Yakima Valley College? 
Having a hands-on learning experience has been the cornerstone of my education at YVC, offering me invaluable practical knowledge for my career. Beyond just building a solid foundation of theoretical knowledge, I had the unique opportunity to immerse myself in real-world scenarios, including working in vineyards, production spaces and various other winery settings. This experience has undoubtedly equipped me with the most effective and applicable skills as I build my career. 

How do you stay connected to YVC as an alum? 
I am actively engaged in the Grape to Glass Gala scholarship committee. Additionally, I collaborate with YVC and the Agribusiness and Wine Club, playing a role in fundraising initiatives to support their enriching club activities. My involvement underscores my commitment to fostering educational opportunities and enhancing the experiences of fellow students within the realm of agribusiness and wine. 

What was your favorite class? How did it expand your knowledge? 
The Winery Operations class series has been a highlight of my educational journey. This immersive, three-class series took place in the cellar, and allowed me to apply the foundational knowledge gained during my first year in the program to actively participate in winemaking. From making picking decisions to navigating through crush, making fermentation choices, and overseeing the entire process from grape to bottle, this experience was not only exciting but also extremely practical. It provided a hands-on application of theory, making the learning experience exceptionally enriching and relevant to my future in the wine industry. 

Who was your mentor on campus? Why do you consider this person your mentor? 
Selecting just one mentor from my time at YVC is a challenging task, as I’ve been so fortunate to learn from a diverse group of inspiring individuals. Trent Ball [Vineyard and Winery Technology Department Chair] stands out, always responsive and willing to share insights. Additionally, industry professionals like Carolina ‘Cat’ Warwick [Instructional and Classroom Support Technician, YVC wine program, and Winemaker, Wit Cellars], who not only served as a valuable resource but also evolved into a trusted friend, added immense value to my educational journey. Ray McKee, an instructor for our advanced winemaking course, remains a fount of knowledge, and I still find myself quoting his teachings. Richard Hoff [Agriculture and Viticulture Instructor], with his vast experience in the vineyard, proved to be an incredible resource, generously sharing his wealth of insights. Grateful for the abundance of mentorship opportunities, I found myself surrounded by a network of experts who enriched my learning experience beyond what I could have anticipated. 

Were there any barriers that you had to overcome to be success at YVC?  
Navigating the demands of being a full-time working mom always made scheduling a daunting task. Balancing study time with personal responsibilities was a challenge. Fortunately, the program at YVC, though structured, offered the flexibility I needed. I opted to take things at my own pace, completing courses more gradually by enrolling in one or two classes at a time. While it took me a bit longer to finish, this flexibility was instrumental in my success. Without it, juggling the demands of work, family, and education would have been significantly more challenging, and I am grateful for the understanding and support that allowed me to achieve my educational goals. 

Did you receive any financial aid or scholarship funding to attend YVC? If so, please describe how this helped you on your journey. 
Throughout my time at YVC, I relied on annual financial aid and scholarships, which were instrumental in my ability to complete the programs. Navigating the financial aid process can be overwhelming, but I found that asking questions and maintaining diligence in follow-ups were essential. The abundance of scholarships in the agriculture sector made it relatively easy to find opportunities to apply for, further easing the financial burden. Without the support of financial aid and scholarships, the completion of these programs would have been significantly more challenging, emphasizing the crucial role they played in facilitating my educational journey. 

Interested in getting started at YVC? Visit our admissions page or request information.