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Wine club networks through frequent tours, trips

Group is planning a trip to British Columbia for icewine harvest

Viticulture+and+Enology+Club+President+Zachary+Green%2C+left%2C+and+Vice+President+Alexis+Torp+encourage+others+to+join+regardless+of+previous+experience+with+wine+culture.
Viticulture and Enology Club President Zachary Green, left, and Vice President Alexis Torp encourage others to join regardless of previous experience with wine culture.

Viticulture and Enology Club President Zachary Green, left, and Vice President Alexis Torp encourage others to join regardless of previous experience with wine culture.

DARA EMAN | The Daily Evergreen

DARA EMAN | The Daily Evergreen

Viticulture and Enology Club President Zachary Green, left, and Vice President Alexis Torp encourage others to join regardless of previous experience with wine culture.

NINA WILLIS, Evergreen reporter

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The WSU Viticulture and Enology Club is planning their next Mom’s Weekend wine-tasting event, which serves as their main fundraising source each year. The last tasting was at the Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles department’s Mom’s Weekend Fashion Show.

Club officers plan this throughout the school year, and the event usually covers expenses for the entire year, Vice President Alexis Torp said.

Viticulture refers to growing grapes for wine, while enology covers the art of making wine from those grapes, Torp said.

Due to time-related circumstances, they served wine to guests at the fashion show from the large wooden barrel used in making said wine, President Zachary Green said. Despite the struggle of carrying the barrel to Beasley Coliseum, guests really loved getting the wine straight from the barrel.

Green spent five years in the military before attending WSU, he said. He first discovered the art of making wine during one of his final deployments in Spain, where they took detachments out to Italy, Greece and Africa.

“When we had some down time, we got to tour some of the vineyards in Europe,” Green said. “Learning what I could, despite the language barrier I struggled with, was awesome and drew me into wine-making.”

Torp said growing up, she wanted to attend veterinary school but realized in high school that she wasn’t as passionate as she originally thought.

“My parents actually went to Yakima for a weekend, and they shared everything they had learned about the wine-making process and how many aspects go into it,” Torp said. “I was hooked from that moment.”

They often take field trips to various wineries and vineyards around the Pacific Northwest to learn more about their field, Torp said.

Currently, the club is planning a trip to British Columbia for the icewine harvest, where grapes are left on the vines to freeze and are harvested while frozen.

As for working around the legal drinking age, club members must abide by state laws, Torp said. Even though underage students do not partake in the wine tastings, they still gain valuable experiences within the club.

During field trips, members gain firsthand experience touring the vineyards, like Columbia Crest Winery, Torp said. They also connect with future employers.

“In past years when I’ve been on field trips, it was like, ‘Oh cool, I guess I’ll shrink into the back because I can’t participate, but everybody seems like they’re really enjoying [the wine],’ ” Torp said. “But the most important part is not tasting the wine, it’s the potential employers.”

During a usual meeting, the president will start off with announcements, followed by the vice president and members discussing potential events, Green said. Because club members have a range of majors, field trips and events depend on what aspect of wine-making they would like to learn more about.

The club has existed since 2012, while the viticulture and enology major started at WSU about 20 years ago, Torp said.

“It’s really fun and definitely chaotic,” Torp said. “We’re a fun group of people who hang out, so we don’t have formal structure.”

While club activities mainly focus on preparing students in the viticulture and enology major for their future career, anyone with an interest in wine-making is welcome to come to meetings or attend field trips, Torp said.

The Viticulture and Enology Club meets at 5:30 p.m. every Monday in Johnson Hall, Room 151. Those interested in joining can look up the club’s OrgSync and Facebook pages. There are no club fees.

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Wine club networks through frequent tours, trips