Monday, July 16, 2012

Fight, Fight, Fight for Washington Wine

When the terms “cougar” and “wine” come together, for many it sparks images of bleached hair and full-to-the-brim glasses of White Zinfandel or Chardonnay (or terribly-named tv shows...). Here in Washington, when Cougars and wine come together, the result is some of the finest wine in the state. On Thursday, July 19, Seattleites have the opportunity to taste what 122 years as the state’s land-grant university have done for the local wine scene at the 4th Annual Washington State University Wine Symposium at the Palace Ballroom. While clearly there’s some extra love given to Cougs at this event (Alumni Association members save $5 per ticket!), you don’t need to be a Coug, love a Coug, or even be friends with a Coug to enjoy this event; you just need to like damn fine wine. And Beecher’s Cheese. Did I forget to mention the Beecher’s Cheese?

As the state’s original land-grant university, WSU has long had a strong focus on agriculture. Through their fast-growing Viticulture & Enology program, research through WSU Extension, and partnerships throughout the Washington wine industry, WSU plays a critical role in growing and maintaining the Washington wine industry and its nearly 700 wineries. Take a look around your favorite winery, and you’re likely to find a Coug involved as a winemaker, owner, business manager, tasting room manager, or key consultant on everything from organic grape production to pest control. The Viticulture & Enology program at WSU supports undergraduates in Integrated Plant Sciences, turning out students who may helm their own wineries, or take on the less-sexy but incredibly vital research and development aspects of wine. While you sip your Syrah, your mind may not immediately jump to test tubes and lab work, but for many winemakers the ability to embrace their inner chemistry nerd is a key driver to their work. In addition to training the next generation of winemakers, the program offers multi-disciplinary graduate studies and professional certificate programs through WSU Extension.

Clearly, Cougs celebrate Washington wine, and the WSU Wine Symposium celebrates and showcases Cougs in the industry, whether they’re blending the wines or making sure your tasting room experience is unforgettable. In the world of Washington wine, Cougs are behind some of the heaviest hitters, and the Symposium has lined up 11 great wineries to pour their wares:

For its fourth year, the Symposium has added a few new features to up the ante – guests will enjoy live music, and if you dig what you sip, bottles will be on hand for purchase. Seattle food demigod Tom Douglas’s Tom Douglas Catering will provide tasty treats, and the Coug-owned Beecher’s Cheese will be sampling their cheese in both regular and “mac &” form. With Beecher’s there, don’t be surprised if Oprah ends up picking up a last-minute ticket.

Speaking of last-minute tickets…this event is pre-purchase only – no ticket sales at the door, so be sure to visit the registration page and pick up your tickets. We Cougs are nothing if not a hospitable bunch, and want to share Cougar pride – and wine – with the world. So, Coug, Husky, Beaver, Duck, or Geoduck, make your way to the Palace Ballroom this Thursday. With wine this good, you may even find yourself throwing out a celebratory “Go Cougs.”

Tom Tuttle singing the fight song by willpwr1


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