Photos courtesy of College Cellars
Getting to Know: College Cellars
by Kenneth Clarkson

Since the doors opened in 2003, College Cellars has been one of the few teaching wineries located in the United States. And, it’s not all that surprising to find a dedicated wine school in the heart of Washington’s wine country – the unique school is on the campus of Walla Walla Community College in the Walla Walla Valley. We sat down with Instructor of Enology Sabrina Bitz Lueck to talk everything wine.

Lueck says enology and viticulture are multi-faceted and there are lots of pieces to the puzzle. At College Cellars students manage six acres of vineyards and produce commercially available wines. This gives a hands-on approach to their two-year education program and students even get their name on all wine that is marketed for sale, Lueck says.

Lueck joined College Cellars in 2011; come 2014 she already found herself as an Instructor of Enology. The staff at College Cellars is full of experts guaranteed to teach more than just a thing or two about making wine, she says.

Tim Donahue is the Director of Winemaking. He got his Master of Science in Enology from the University of Adelaide and has made wine in Australia, New Zealand, Colorado and Washington. Jeff Popick, Vineyard Manager and Instructor of Viticulture, comes from a 30-year career in premium Napa and Sonoma wine growing.

It’s not just the students that get to have all the fun. Lueck says College Cellars loves to get the community involved.

“Part of our mission involves community education. We offer both seminars for the local wine industry and extended learning classes for the local community,” she says.

College Cellars students are no stranger to success. A handful of students have gone on to become successful producers within the Northwest wine industry. Carter Lamour, J&J Vintners, SJR and Cayuse Vineyards are just a few of the labels operating under College Cellars alumni.

If you’re thinking of ditching the office chair and picking up the grapevine, College Cellars may be just what you’re looking for.

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