Visitor Center hosts alumni for winetasting


Cougar III wine for the Wine By Cougars program

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Brelsford WSU Visitor Center will host a Cougar III Wine tasting event tomorrow, where dedicated, winemaking alumni will talk through the process of making limited edition Cougar wine and about Bergevin Lane Vineyards.

Annette Bergevin, general manager and founding partner, has been in love with wine since it became her family’s ritual to drink wine when they are together.

“My father would bring home wine from his wine club, he would usually share with me and I just fell in love with it,” Bergevin said. “I think it was not only the wine itself but the experience of wine.”

Racking is a natural wine filtration system done about four times a year. The sediment drops to the bottom of the barrel, the wine is taken out, the barrel is cleaned and the juice is put back in, Bergevin said.

“We protect the grapes all the way through,” Bergevin said. “We keep the barrels clean, we just store these little babies in a really consistently-temperature, controlled space, and then we wait.”

At Bergevin Lane Vineyards, they have grapes getting ready to be crushed, as well as wine sitting in the barrel that will not be turned into wine until two years from now, Bergevin said.

“Until then, there are a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” Bergevin said.

The Alumni Association is always looking for ways to showcase their alumni so that they can give back to the program and help the students, Bergevin said. Bergevin and her partners have put together wine offerings for the Wine-by-Cougars program, an Alumni Association initiative.

“WSU happens to have a lot of rock star wineries that have come from folks who have graduated from WSU,” Bergevin said.

Dave Harvey is a WSU alumnus and winemaker at Bergevin Lane Vineyards who has been making wine locally for over 20 years, Bergevin said.

Kelly Brantner, director of membership and marketing, runs the Wine-by-Cougars program and is passionate about WSU and her work with the Alumni Association.

Branter took part in starting the program when Cougar I initially came out, which had very high sales and low production. They have increased production since, and the program is a way to grow, advertise and market the wine club, Brantner said.

“It’s really fun to watch how viral the enthusiasm is for this (wine),” Brantner said.

Brantner has been a part of many projects through the Alumni Association, but she especially loves this one because of the many benefits that come from it.

“It’s Cougar-connected wine with a Coug alum in a prominent position,” Branter said. “It’s great wine, it supports scholarships, it helps increase more school pride, then we start the whole thing all over again.”

Branter said she knows anyone can be proud while drinking this wine, knowing the proceeds go towards helping the students.

“The Bergevin Lane philosophy is friendly quality,” Brantner said. “I love the story and the pride people have in WSU, it’s a good way to show that.”

Bergevin and Harvey will be discussing their winery and Cougar III wine during a tasting at 2:30 p.m. on Friday at the Brelsford WSU Visitor Center. The tasting will take place from 2 – 4 p.m. Tickets are $5.