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Volunteer pours wine during the French Market event

Yakima Valley Vintners brings the heart of France to campus

“This event means something to me,” says Rachel Villanueva, who graduated from YVC’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Management (BASM) program this past spring. For her it’s an opportunity to see her efforts come full circle.

Two years ago, when Villanueva enrolled in the BASM program, she had a passion for baking, but wasn’t sure how to develop this passion into a business. Then during the first year of her undergraduate program, she was assigned the task of creating a marketing plan. Inspired by the French pastry macaron, Villanueva received support from classmates and YVC instructors Emily Oldham and Donald Doty and began working towards creating her own business, The Mac Mix. Her business launched earlier this year and YVC’s French Market and Wine Release Party in September was Villanueva’s first in-person event.   

“I loved being part of it. It felt right to have it be at YVC,” Villanueva said.

Rachel Villanueva stands at her booth during YVC's French Market event in September.
Rachel Villanueva stands at her booth during YVC's French Market event in September.

Hosted by Yakima Valley Vintners (YVV), Yakima Valley College’s teaching winery, the event provided an opportunity to taste award-winning, student-made wines, including two different styles of chardonnay, Syrah, Carménère, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Wine flights with food pairings were also available for purchase.   

“In honor of the French-style wine we released for our fall release party, we put together a one-day French Market,” said Annette Wattenbarger, program specialist. “We gathered a variety of exciting vendors with items that are locally sourced or made — from mini-donuts, charcuterie boards and fresh breads to handcrafted art pieces and more — this event had something for everyone.” 

For Lori and Ruth Babcock, owners of Tieton Farm and Creamery, YVC’s event made it possible to start a relationship with YVC’s program — something the Babcock’s hope will be long-term.

“When Annette reached out to me it seemed liked a great fit,” said Ruth. “We love to promote local businesses and host several farm-to-table events using locally sourced items. We have wanted to support YVC’s wine program and this provided the perfect opportunity to get started.”

Some of YVC’s award-winning wines were also available for purchase at the event including the 2022 Study Skills Chardonnay, 2022 Easy A Chardonnay, 2019 Science Fair Carménère, 2019 Final Exam Cabernet Franc, 2019 Super Senior Merlot and 2019 Graduate’s Last Hyrah Syrah.

Local vendors participating in this event included Loomis Creations, BSC Leathergoods, Blissful Bites, Sol Catchers, Teege’s Tumblers, Mama Jane’s Self Care, Graze Craze, Selberg’s Sweets, Glass by Karen, The Mac Mix, Sparky’s Sparklies, Rasberryjune, Total Bliss Bath, 29D Signs, Little Sister Artisan Productions, Buggirl Farms, Apple City Salami, Daniels Artisan, The Little Bake Shop at Johnson Orchards, Squirrel Garden Goods, Scratch Bakery, MW Inspirations and Tieton Farm & Creamery.

Community members can purchase Yakima Valley Vintners wine anytime by visiting its online store. For more information email