WSU Research Projects funded by Auction of Washington Wines Donation

Auction of Washington Wines donation will help fund 13 research projects led by WSU scientists

The Auction of Washington Wines’ financial support of viticulture and enology research can be likened to the relationship between venture capitalists and startup tech companies. New startups have potential to change the world (think Google and Facebook), while viticulture and enology research has potential to change the wine world.

The Auction of Washington Wines (AWW), with its recent $200,000 donation to Washington’s grape and wine research program, is the largest non-governmental contributor and represents more than 20 percent of the program’s budget. The donation will help fund 13 projects in 2016-17, projects led by Washington State University scientists totaling nearly $870,000. The research includes a variety of topics including irrigation efficiency, optimal soil health, technologies to combat insects and diseases, wine spoilage, native yeasts and fermentation, and studying smoke taint in wines.

This contribution serves as seed money and allows the wine industry to fund a mix of projects—tried and true and proof of concept. Though the majority of the research budget is dedicated to solving current issues like pests and diseases and improving wine quality, the Auction’s research contribution provides additional monies to help the wine industry stay on the cutting edge vineyard and winery technology.

An example of the importance of the seed money is research currently funded by AWW exploring an innovative way of delivering irrigation water to vine roots through underground tubes. The revolutionary concept has potential to improve irrigation efficiency by reducing evaporation and weed growth under vine rows and helping stretch dwindling water supplies.

“Viticulture and enology research conducted at Washington State University helps everyone in Washington’s wine industry, from the new winemaker to the experienced grape grower,” said Rick Hamman of Hogue Ranches in Prosser, Washington. Hamman chairs the Wine Research Advisory Committee, a subcommittee of Washington State Wine that annually reviews and recommends funding of grape and wine research. “Research can have significant industry impact and has saved growers millions in reduced vineyard costs while helping winemakers improve wine quality.”

For a complete list of research projects to be funded this year, visit

Melissa Hansen
Research Program Manager
Washington State Wine


2200 6th Ave Suite 411
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 741-0212


The Northwest Wine Benefit Foundation, DBA Auction of Washington Wines, is committed to supporting the growth and awareness of the Washington state wine industry through a series of celebrated events benefiting our community. We have raised over $63 million since our inception in 1988. 

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