YVC’s Vineyard & Winery Technology Program Wins 6 Awards at the 21st Annual Wine Press Northwest Platinum Competition

Grandview, Wash. — Yakima Valley Vintners (YVV), Yakima Valley College’s teaching winery, recently received several awards at the 21st Annual Wine Press Northwest Platinum Competition.

YVC’s hands-on learning program produces between 400-700 cases of wine per year. Produced by the students of the Vineyard & Winery Technology Program the college’s award-winning wines have garnered more than 167 awards over the last 13 vintages.

Students in the Vineyard & Winery Technology Program receive a gold medal education and recognition for the creation of award winning wines. “Whether you are looking for a new career, or want to build your skills within the grape and wine industry, YVC can help open that opportunity,” said Vineyard and Winery Technology Instructor Trent Ball. “YVC’s program helps develop the foundation for a successful career in the growing Washington wine industry.” Personal interest courses are also available for community members interested in personal enrichment.

All wines submitted for the Wine Press Northwest Platinum Competition were judged blindly by a panel of prominent wine professionals. YVC student wines were judged alongside those produced by commercial wineries during the competition.

2020 Awards: YVC’s 2017 Late Registration Petit Verdot, 2016 Lemberger, and the 2016 Austin Sharpe Vineyard Dean’s List Merlot each received platinum awards. The 2017 Dean’s List Tempranillo, and 2017 Primitivo each garnered double gold medals and the 2019 Easy A Chardonnay earned a gold medal.

The 21st Annual Wine Press Northwest Platinum Competition was held at the end of October. In 1999 Wine Press Northwest began its annual Platinum Judging, a multi-day tasting of Pacific Northwest wines that have won a gold medal in at least one of Pacific Northwest’s top competitions. Wine Press Northwest follows more than 40 competitions throughout the year, and this “best of the best in the great Northwest” highlights great wines from across the region. This year, blind tasting panels evaluated 655 wines from British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington that qualified for participation by winning gold or better at a recognized competition.

“Overall, 2020 has been an impressive year for YVC’s program earning several awards at a number of state-wide competitions,” stated Ball. “This is the first time YVC students have got to produce a Petit Verdot varietal, and they were awarded a Platinum on this wine.  That brings the total career Platinum awards for Yakima Valley Vintners to eight.”

Support for YVC’s teaching winery comes from a variety of local vineyards and wineries. For example, Ball said the Williams family at Kiona Vineyards donated some of their prized Lemberger to Yakima Valley College students to work with.

The networking fostered through YVC’s Vineyard & Winery Technology Program also contribute to student learning opportunities and the success of its wines. In the case of the award-winning Dean’s List Merlot, this networking led to a donation of fruit from Calvin Mercer, who left his career as a cattle rancher to join his father and cousin as a grape grower.  Calvin has taken some vineyard and winemaking class at YVC, and has been supportive of the Program. This donation helped YVC students learn about selectively harvested fruit, and how to manage tannins, Ball said.  The judges felt the Merlot drinks like a Washington Cab, conjuring up thoughts of Bing cherry, blueberry taffy and cinnamon and pomegranate.

The YVC’s award-winning wines are available for purchase on the Yakima Valley Vintners website with curbside pickup available at the Tasting Room. For more information about Yakima Valley Vintners and the Yakima Valley College Vineyard and Winery Technology Program call 509.882.7007.

Press Release Contacts:
Dustin Wunderlich / 509.574.6870 / dwunderlich@yvcc.edu
Stefanie Menard / 509.574.4646 / smenard@yvcc.edu