The wine industry sees an opportunity in its Latino workforce, and that prospect comes from education. To meet that need, Washington Winegrowers established the Latino Ag Education Program. Recently, the association honored nearly 40 students who graduated from two course levels. Half of those students were women.
There were graduates from Level 1, Introduction to Viticulture; and Level 3, Vineyard Management and Integrated Pest Management.
Level 1 focuses on the “whys” of winegrapes’ production and management practices. The class gets into some wine industry historical perspectives, vine physiology, canopy management, soils, irrigation, nutrition, thinning, harvest, marketing and vineyard management.
For Level 3, students are involved in an intensive technical curriculum. This curriculum is designed to prepare employees as pest management scouts and introduce basic vineyard economics and management. This course is designed to prepare students for middle management and management positions at a vineyard.
LAEP is offered by Wenatchee Valley College and sponsored by Washington Winegrowers and Yakima Valley College. The program is designed to equip Latino employees in viticulture with the technical expertise that will allow them to flourish and grow in their jobs. The first LAEP class began in 2007, and since then, the program has graduated more than 350.
The 2018-19 LAEP program is scheduled to begin in November.
New board members
The group has also appointed four new members to its board of directors, and re-elected five members and officers for 2018. Here’s a look at the new board members.
Corina Davis is senior vice president-wealth management advisor at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith. She graduated from the University of Washington and has a certified financial planner certification and a certified private wealth advisor designation.
Joe Hattrup is a third-generation farmer with 165 acres of winegrapes spread over two vineyards in the Yakima Valley — Elephant Mountain Vineyards and Sugarloaf Vineyards. He grows 13 red varieties and five white varieties, along with 20 acres of tree fruit and a flock of Katahdin sheep. Hattrup has served on boards for Wine Yakima Valley, Snokist Tree Fruit, Solarity Credit Union and Washington State Limousin Association.
Jordon McEntire started his career with AmeriCorps at a Seattle nonprofit, providing services to immigrant and refugee families. After watching outreach fail because messaging and programs didn’t consider the values of the target audiences, he turned to devote himself to aligning culture, operations, products and messaging to foster a meaningful connection with target audiences. McEntire works with Bleyhl Cooperative, where he oversees operations, business planning and marketing.
J.J. Williams is the third generation of the Williams family to dedicate his career to Washington wine, the Red Mountain American Viticultural Area (AVA) and the family business — Kiona Vineyards and Winery. Kiona is an estate winery and grower for more than 60 top winemakers in the state. Williams is a graduate of the Washington AgForestry program, and a current board member of the Red Mountain AVA Alliance. The AVA designation means the area has been designated as a winegrape-growing region for its geographic features and more.
Two board members retired: Bill Shibley of Harvest Fresh Produce and Tom Waliser of Beresan Winery.
Officers elected for 2018 included Mark Wheeler, Saddle Mountain Vineyards, chairman; Carol Munro, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, vice chair; and Jerry Judkins-Smith, Inland Desert Nursery, secretary-treasurer.
Board members re-elected included Mark Wheeler and Roger Gamache, Gamache Vintners/Gamache Ag Services; Paul Champoux, former owner, Champoux Vineyards; Jamie Peha, Peha Promotions LLC; and Sherri Swingle, a consultant in charitable giving and marketing.
The remaining board includes: Brian Carter, Brian Carter Cellars; Stephanie Meier, Stoel Rives; and Simon Siegl, Coefficient Consulting.
Source: Washington Winegrowers