From Grape to Glass
Annual scholarship fundraiser makes an impact
This May, Yakima Valley College’s Vineyard and Winery Technology program hosted its annual Grape to Glass Gala, raising nearly $12,000 to support scholarships for future professionals in the industry.
The event included dinner, tasting of beer, cider, and wine, live music and a silent auction with all proceeds benefitting YVC student scholarships.
The event provided an opportunity for attendees to interact with both current students as well as alumni such as Nate Lambert, who graduated from YVC’s program in the spring of 2020 and is head cider maker at Wheel Line Cider in Ellensburg.
“The program gave me the knowledge and hands on experience to be successful and confident in my current endeavors,” says Lambert. “I feel working in the lab and working with the equipment during the Winery Operations courses were crucial in building the skill set that I now have.”
Lambert was excited to participate in this year’s event as one of four industry pourers featured.
“This is my first time being involved with the Grape to Gala program,” said Lambert. “I am honored the program thought of me and was happy to be a part of this event and to help make it a success.”
“It is a wonderful event that allows me to give back to a program that has meant so much to me. I also enjoy being able to see what the program is doing and how it is impacting our valley’s workforce.” — Carolina ‘Cat’ Warwick, YVC alumnus, co-owner WIT Cellars
Carolina ‘Cat’ Warwick, who graduated from YVC’s Vineyard and Winery Technology program in 2009 and then returned to YVC to earn a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Business Management in 2016, also served wine for this year’s event. Warwick is now the co-owner and co-winemaker for WIT Cellars in Prosser.
A mother of young children, Warwick was able to pursue her degree thanks to the flexible hours of the wine program.
“I was raising three kids, and needed to work full-time, so going to school wasn’t an option,” recalls Warwick. “Then YVC started the wine program in the evening, which was what allowed me to be able to attend. Everything was hands-on and we were able to make real-time decisions ourselves. There was classroom instruction as well but being hands-on and doing the work ourselves is what really solidified things for us.”
Warwick, a recipient of scholarship funds donated during previous galas, was happy to help promote this year’s festivities and support future student success. YVC’s program made such an impact on Warwick that in 2019 she started teaching as an adjunct instructor for the college’s Essentials of Winemaking course.
“It is a wonderful event that allows me to give back to a program that has meant so much to me. I also enjoy being able to see what the program is doing and how it is impacting our valley’s workforce,” said Warwick.
Yakima Valley Vintners produces 400-700 cases of wine annually and its student-crafted wines have garnered more than 220 awards over the last 16 vintages, and most recently won nine awards at the 2023 Seattle Wine Awards ranging from gold to silver medals.