Washington State University President Elson S. Floyd delivered an in-person thank you to Washington wine grape growers on Feb. 8 for their part of a $7.4 million commitment to support a new WSU Wine Science Center facility; he also reaffirmed the university’s long-term commitment to viticulture and enology education and research.

The state’s wine industry agreed late last year to generate the funds for the Wine Science Center through assessments levied on grape and wine production beginning with the 2011 harvest. The Washington State Wine Commission estimates it will collect the total amount over the next decade.

Addressing the 2012 annual meeting of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers, Floyd called the $7.4 million commitment “a giant step forward to assure that WSU and the industry have the facilities needed to engage in cutting-edge research and education to serve this important industry in the future.”

He also reaffirmed WSU’s role in supporting the industry. “Let me emphasize our long-term commitment to supporting the Washington wine industry from vineyard to glass with the very best teaching, research and extension we have to offer.”

Floyd noted the rich history of the WSU-wine industry partnership. “Together, we have made great strides in building one of the premiere viticulture and enology programs in the nation,” he said.

Ted Baseler, CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, WSU Regent, and alumnus, also announced a $1 million investment from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and its parent company, The Altria Group, to support wine science programs at Washington State University.

“Burgundy, Bordeaux, Tuscany – no great wine region in the world succeeds without the support of a strong research university,” he said. “This gift supports the Washington wine industry’s premier research university.”

President Floyd said the commitment from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and The Altria Group will help WSU viticulture and enology scientists make a dramatic difference for the state’s wine industry.

“Washington’s wine industry has said it wants to triple its economic impact at the state and national level to $10 billion, employ more than 57,000 people statewide, and increase the number of wine tourists in Washington from approximately 2 million to 5 million,” said Floyd. “This investment aligns perfectly with these goals, and WSU is uniquely positioned to help address these goals and to provide the research that will drive innovation in the industry.”

For more information about these transformational commitments or to learn more about WSU’s Wine Science Center, visit http://winecampaign.org.