California company donates $250K to WSU Wine Science Center

By on September 17, 2013

The Wine Science Center will be built at Washington State University Tri-Cities in Richland, Wash.

This is an artist’s rendering of the Wine Science Center that will be built at Washington State University Tri-Cities in Richland. (Courtesy of WSU)

RICHLAND, Wash. – Two California companies have pledged $250,000 and a decade’s worth of barrels to the Washington State University Wine Science Center.

Cooperages 1912 and Oak Solutions Group – two Napa, Calif., companies owned by the Boswell family, have made the quarter-million-dollar donation through the Boswell Family Foundation, according to WSU.

“This project struck a chord with our family, as it is important to us to give back to worthy educational institutions in our industry,” said company president Brad Boswell. “It is clear the Wine Science Center will play a vital role in the Pacific Northwest as a center for research and education, helping to sustain and continue the tremendous growth this market has experienced.”

Wine Science Center’s help from California

The Boswell Family Foundation is donating $250,000 to the WSU Wine Science Center.

Amie Boswell Dewane, John Boswell, Brad Boswell and Joe Boswell are part of the Boswell Family Foundation, which is donating $250,000 to the WSU Wine Science Center. (Photo courtesy of the Boswell Family Foundation)

Though WSU has received considerable assistance from faculty at the University of California-Davis during the pre-construction phase of building the Wine Science Center, this is the first major cash and in-kind donation from a California-based company in the wine industry.

The Wine Science Center is a $23 million facility that will be built at the WSU Tri-Cities campus in the heart of Washington wine country. Construction will begin this fall, with a groundbreaking ceremony later this month. The Wine Science Center will include classrooms, labs, conference space and a gravity-flow winemaking facility.

OSgroup_colorThe Washington State Wine Commission pledged $7.4 million in 2011, which was the first major donation and helped get fundraising rolling forward. Today, more than $20 million has been donated toward the building’s construction and equipment. It is expected to open in early 2015.

Cooperages 1912 is a fourth-generation company based in Napa that sells barrels to wineries in North America, Europe, Australia, South America and South Africa. World Cooperage is a subsidiary of Cooperages 1912.

WC32_CooperagesIdentity_1BOak Solutions Group, also owned by the Boswell family, produces tank staves, barrel inserts, oak chips, oak powder and oak cubes for wine production.

10-year barrel sponsorship

The Wine Science Center will be built at Washington State University Tri-Cities in Richland, Wash.

This is an artist’s rendering of the Wine Science Center that will be built at Washington State University’s Tri-City campus in Richland. (Courtesy of WSU)

In addition to the $250,000 donation, Cooperages 1912 also has pledged a 10-year sponsorship for all of the Wine Science Center’s barrel needs to help students in WSU’s viticulture and enology program learn winemaking. And Cooperages 1912 and Oak Solutions Group also will provide the Wine Science Center with visiting lecturers who can provide information on research about use of barrels and oak alternatives.

Last fall, Spokane Industries pledged $600,000 in stainless steel tanks to the Wine Science Center. Along with the barrels donated by Cooperages 1912, the Wine Science Center’s winery should be well equipped.

The Wine Science Center is being built by the city of Richland through its Wine Science Center Development Authority. It is being built on land owned by the Port of Benton that is adjacent to the WSU Tri-Cities campus on a bluff overlooking a demonstration vineyard planted by students, faculty and staff.

After the Wine Science Center is built, the city will hand the facility over to the university, and the Port of Benton will donate the $350,000 worth of land.

The Wine Science Center is expected to help the Washington wine industry in wine and viticulture research as well as train the next generation of winemakers. Today, the state wine industry is worth $9 billion annually.

In Benton County, where the Wine Science Center will be located, the wine industry contributes $1 billion in revenue, generates $43 million in state and local taxes and is responsible for more than 5,000 jobs. Benton County is the largest wine-producing county in the state, thanks to such producers as Columbia Crest, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Hogue Cellars, Mercer Estates, Pacific Rim Winemakers, Hedges Family Estate, Barnard Griffin, Airfield Estates and Powers Winery.

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .

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