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Wine

Dave "Merf" Merfeld (Photo Kevin Cruff)
Fall 2018

Cornfields to vineyards

“I quit working in 1996,” says master winemaker David “Merf” Merfeld ’13. That was the year he got a job at Bert Grant’s Brewery in Yakima—one of the early craft breweries in the region.

Merf’s passion for fermentation started in his kitchen a few years earlier. He’d driven west to Seattle from the family farm in Iowa. “Thirty, thirty-one hours straight through,” he says, with maybe an “hour stop for a rain storm in South Dakota.” He was in the ’79 Park Avenue his dad gave him: “a great ride, and everything I owned fit in that car.” The first thing he and the buddy … » More …

Wine labels
Fall 2018

Designer labels

 

Every wine has a tale and deserves a wine label that can tell that story

 

That’s what motivates Jim Carey (‘78 Comm.) and Jim Craig from Doubleknot Creative in Seattle, a branding and design firm that has carved out a niche crafting the artwork that graces many Washington vintages.

The designers have seen wine labels in Washington evolve along with the varietals and the state’s wine industry as a whole. Washington wines continue to build reputation and credibility, and going against big hitters like California’s Napa Valley, “world-class wine deserves world-class packaging,” says Craig, the creative director of the firm.

Most of all, … » More …

Alumni News
Fall 2018

A high five for Cougar V

This fall, the WSU Alumni Association will release Cougar V—the fifth offering in the Cougar Collectors’ Series that celebrates Cougar wineries and the role WSU alumni play as leaders in the wine industry. The Cougar V red blend was created by a team of outstanding Cougs at Mercer Estates Winery, including Rob Mercer ’91, Brenda Mercer ’90, Will Mercer ’92, and winemaker Jeremy Santo ’03.

The only guaranteed way to get your bottle of Cougar V is to join the Wine-By-Cougars Wine Club. WBC carefully selects world-class Coug wines and delivers them to your door four times a year, with four different club levels … » More …

Wine By Cougars label gallery
Fall 2018

Gallery: Wine labels from Wine-By-Cougars

We’ve compiled a gallery of wine labels for all the members of Wine-By-Cougars—wineries with a WSU connection and Cougar passion. Since most produce a remarkable variety of types (and therefore labels), make sure to check each winery website through links found here.

Wine-By-Cougars (the official wine club of Washington State University) celebrates the impact that Cougs have made on the wine industry. WBC also supports student scholarships for the viticulture and enology program, and the wine business management program.

You can learn more and become a member of Wine-By-Cougars by going to the WBC website. There … » More …

Wine glass splashing with smoke. Photo Dreamstime
Summer 2018

Smoke gets in your wine

Smoke truly gets under the skin of wine grapes.

As microscopic particles and liquid droplets ooze and eddy through the vineyard, grapes are coated with toxic chemicals. Worse, smoke from forest and range fires manages to get into the plant itself, wreaking havoc with the plant’s internal chemistry.

In self-defense, grape vines attempt to sequester toxic smoke particles that infiltrate berries and leaves by binding sugar molecules to the offending invaders. The plant can then metabolically shuffle the sugar-trapped particles into places where the smoke won’t be as harmful to the vines’ mission: produce grapes and reproduce.

Humans interfere with the vines’ mission when we … » More …

Alumni News
Fall 2017

Bounty of the Palouse

Each fall, the WSU Alumni Association’s wildly popular Feast of the Arts dinner series brings together some of the very best aspects of WSU for a can’t-miss evening. These special dinners feature wines from a different Coug winery expertly paired with exquisite food courses by Executive Chef Jamie Callison of the Carson College of Business School of Hospitality Business Management and his talented students.

“I work with my students to craft a menu inspired by WSU-focused fare—like fresh vegetables from the WSU Organic Farm and Wagyu beef from the Premium Beef Program,” Chef Jamie explains. The Feast also incorporates the WSU » More …

grape vine illustration
Summer 2017

Hanging a left at wine

The allure of winemaking has attracted a menagerie of professionals to the business. Washington State University’s Viticulture and Enology Program has lured aerospace engineers, Army medics, apparel designers, scientists, and many others to the field. Here, we bring you a few of the stories of those who have changed careers by hanging a left at wine.

After years of dissecting rat brains, Berenice Burdet had had enough.

The Argentinian neuroscientist was untangling stress’s web of physiological effects on the hippocampus. The stress we feel in a crammed subway train, Burdet says, affects our behavior by dampening affect. We become depressed, and activity levels decline. … » More …

Alumni News
Fall 2016

Three’s a charm

It’s easy to find the Cougar wine along the row of stainless steel tanks at Bergevin Lane Winery in Walla Walla. The WSU logo gives it away. But what’s inside really distinguishes Cougar III wine.

“The idea that what’s in the bottle comes first is the predominant feeling around here,” says winemaker Dave Harvey ’88. “But what’s most unique about this vintage of the Coug wines is that everybody is Coug: vineyard owners, winery owner, winemaker.”

Winery owner and manager Annette Bergevin ’86 laughs at the synchronicity as she, Harvey, and winery dog Paco walk past the tanks.

Cougar III wine also has three … » More …