THE SCIENCE OF WINE: WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY SCIENTISTS AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE WASHINGTON WINE INDUSTRY, 1937-1992
Kaag, Cynthia Stewart
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WSU scientists and researchers were the main force behind creating the knowledge base necessary for the Washington grape and wine industry to grow from a few hundred acres of vines, producing undistinguished grapes for undistinguished wines, to a major state industry. Horticulturists, plant pathologists, entomologists, food microbiologists, enologists, climatologists, soil scientists, agricultural engineers—they came from many disciplines across the University—worked to solve the problems of cold hardiness and efficient vineyard management, trellising and mechanical harvesting, certification of virus-free stock and testing of hundreds of grape varieties, balance of sugars and acidity in wines, and consumer preferences. Their research results were shared with growers, processors, and winemakers in several ways: they corresponded with individual viticulturists and enologists, they spoke at local luncheons, state conventions, and national meetings, and they published their results in scholarly journals, popular magazines, newspapers, conference proceedings, and through the University’s outreach and Extension programs. This intersection between basic research and practical application was the crux of the University’s obligations to the citizens of the state, and testament to the value WSU added to their lives.