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Photos from the 2024 Grape to Glass Gala

Annual scholarship fundraiser makes the grade

In May, Yakima Valley College uncorked generosity and community spirit at the 15th annual Grape to Glass Gala event featuring the wines of Yakima Valley Vintners. Wine enthusiasts and supporters came together to savor exquisite selections crafted by students in YVC’s Vineyard and Winery Technology program and raised crucial funds for deserving students.

The atmosphere buzzed with lively conversation and a shared passion for education and provided participants the opportunity to connect with current students and program alumni.

“Networking is such a vital part of career advancement,” says Trent Ball, vineyard and winery technology instructor and program chair. “Having our alumni continue to be involved in the program provides an opportunity for current students to develop professional relationships with members in the industry. Those connections are important to their long-term success.”

New to this year’s event were educational learning stations, hosted by current YVC students, and featuring activities like a demonstration of the process of filtering wine and showcasing how to propagate and grow new grapevines. The stations also allowed students to network with potential future employers and colleagues in the local industry.

“We want to support our alumni and having those working in the industry share the wines that they are involved with brings additional attention to the winery they work at, or in some cases, own.” — Trent Ball, vineyard and winery technology instructor    

The event, which has become a favorite on campus, included dinner prepared by Bon Vino’s Bistro and a dessert auction by Scratch Bakery. This year’s event theme, “Meet the Maker,”  was highlighted with wines from YVC’s award-winning program as well as a happy hour with offerings created by alumni of YVC’s program working at Treveri CellarsWIT CellarsDineen VineyardsMoonshot Brewing and Wheel Line Cider.

The event also allows YVC’s Vineyard and Winery Technology program to provide scholarships to new students at times when other options are not available.

“Most scholarship awarding programs occur in early spring for the next academic year,” says Ball.  The G2G funds allow new students that are just beginning their studies in winter or spring quarters to qualify for the scholarship awards. 

Another highlight of the event is YVC’s ongoing partnership with the YV Tech Culinary Arts program, which helps prepare and serve food to guests.

“This is yet another way to support students of all ages in the beverage and hospitality industry,” said Ball. “Their participation in this event gives the culinary students an opportunity to work with a local chef and practice the skills they have been learning.” 

Live music and a silent auction with all proceeds benefitting YVC student scholarships rounded out the event. In total $16,000 was raised to support scholarships in the 2024-25 academic year. This year’s event also boasted the largest crowd in the event’s history with 140 attendees, making it possible to offer even more support to YVC students.

“I am honored to be a recipient of the vineyard and technology scholarship. I will make sure I use that money wisely to continue to help my childhood dream of graduating college.” — Lorenzo Sanchez, student    

Yakima Valley Vintners produces 400-700 cases of wine annually and its student-crafted wines. The program has also garnered more Platinum wine awards at the Washington State Wine Competition than any other student-made wines. The annual judging is a multi-day tasting of Pacific Northwest wines that have won a gold medal in at least one of the Pacific Northwest’s top competitions.

Story by Stefanie Menard, AA-DTA ’05, communications consultant. Photos by Dustin Wunderlich, director of community relations.