Our winemakers and viticulturists are a team comprised of staff and students of the Enology and Viticulture Program at Walla Walla Community College.
Alan Busacca is known to many people around the Northwest and beyond as ‘Dr. Dirt’. He is a soil scientist and a geologist who for many years has turned his passion for the land toward growing grapes for fine wine and helping others to do the same. The newest chapter in Alan’s life is as Director of the Center for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College and General Manager of its teaching winery, College Cellars.
Alan was professor of soil science, agriculture, and geology at Washington State University from 1982 to 2006. With a growing personal and professional interest in vineyard consulting, wine grapes, and wine, in 2006 Alan left WSU and with business partners developed Volcano Ridge Vineyard near The Dalles, Oregon, in the Columbia Gorge AVA and started a small wine brand, AlmaTerra Wines in Washington. Alan also consults on land evaluation for vineyards, on hydric (wetland) soils litigation, and gives talks and leads field trips.
Alan has a B.S. degree in Earth Sciences from U.C. Santa Cruz and M.S. & Ph.D. degrees in Soil Science from U.C. Davis.
His teaching at WSU focused on soil resources, Ice-Age geology, and world agriculture. His main research topics were the Ice-Age geologic history of the Pacific Northwest, the formation and properties of soils of the Pacific Northwest, agricultural soil erosion, and how geology and soils have shaped our agriculture and our use of natural resources. While at WSU, Alan authored more than 40 research journal articles, including two influential papers on the vineyard terroirs of the Walla Walla Valley and Red Mountain AVAs and several other papers and field guides to the terroirs of the Pacific Northwest.
As a consultant, Alan has also been responsible for creating several of the Northwest’s newer American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), including the Wahluke Slope and Lake Chelan AVAs. Most recently in 2013 Alan submitted a petition on behalf of winegrowers in the Lewiston-Clarkston area to create the Lewis-Clark AVA. He also was the host of the feature documentary ‘Washington State-Get the Dirt on Wine’ seen on PBS. His research and consulting activities have taken him to 30 countries around the world.
Don’t let the shaved head and goatee fool you; Tim Donahue brings a great winemaking background to the table. Tim’s career began in the late 90’s in Colorado by building and managing the family winery and café, Creekside Cellars, as well as making their wine. Additionally, he holds a Master’s in Enology from the University of Adelaide in Australia and a BS in Business Administration from the University of Northern Colorado.
With 15 years of professional wine production Tim has experience working in wineries located in Colorado, Washington, Australia, and New Zealand, ranging in size from 1000 cases to over 2 million cases. He also has a passion for viticulture as well, knowing that all great wines begin with good soil and site selection. He is very hands-on in his instruction style but is thoroughly knowledgeable in both the minutia of the science behind wine production as well sensory analysis of wine.
Since becoming the winemaker/instructor at College Cellars in 2010, the student produced wines have received numerous medals (50+), in local and international competitions as well as critical praise from sources such as Wine Press Northwest the Wine Adviser. Tim is also a father, amateur gardener, and lifetime all natural power-lifter. He believes in living sustainably, growing his own food, and rumor has it that he rides his bike everywhere – and logs over 4,000 miles a year.
A veteran of the wine industry, Jeff Popick brings significant vineyard management and winemaking experience to the Center for Enology and Viticulture. With almost three decades in the wine industry, Jeff began his industry career as vineyard manager for Mount Eden Vineyards in Saratoga after earning his BS degree in Viticulture from UC Davis. From Mount Eden, Jeff moved to Mayacamas Vineyards in Napa for ten years where his roles included vineyard manager, cellar master and national sales. He also worked extensively with growers and wineries throughout the North Coast viticultural area for nine years as North Coast grower and winery relations representative for Allied Grape Growers. Most recently, Jeff completed the 2010 harvest with Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards and Winery in Windsor, CA. Besides many years of academic and practical vineyard experience, Jeff has also co-owned a winery (Chameleon Cellars, 1995-2008) in St. Helena, taught enology and viticulture classes at Napa Valley Community College and Las Positas College, and written a weekly weather column for the Saint Helena Star for several years. Monitoring vineyard climates and writing for the newspaper is the closest Jeff has come to his lifelong dream of landing a job working for “The Weather Channel” as an on-air meteorologist. Speaking of which, Jeff’s hobbies include meteorology (of course), fishing, physical fitness, eating and wine tasting (both mutually exclusive with respect to the aforementioned hobby), gardening and golf. He is also fluent in Spanish and French, having obtained both a BA and MA in French from the University of Arizona.
Sabrina joined our program in 2011. She has a BS from Cornell University in Enology and Viticulture. She has worked in production at Chateau Ste. Michelle and in hospitality at Terra Blanca on Red Mountain. Sabrina is frequently referred to as the Master of Intellectual Overflow – her responsibilities include co-teaching the winemaking courses and co-managing student winemakers during harvest, and managing all College Cellars wine sales including tasting room, wine club, and distributors. When not at work she loves to cook, drink wine, and play pétanque (the latter two go hand in hand).
A native Californian, Danielle hold a BS from Oregon State University in Health and Physical Education. She plays an important role in maintaining the positive reputation of the Enology & Viticulture program. She is responsible for coordinating academic schedules, assisting students with enrollment, planning and organizing program events, setting up industry seminars and managing logistics such as facilities, travel arrangements, and student communications. In addition to her academic program responsibilities, Danielle also manages compliance for College Cellars and works with the retail operations. An avid cyclist and wine lover, Danielle has adapted well to life in the Walla Walla Valley.
A 31-year employee with Walla Walla Community College, Dr. Myles Anderson served as a counselor, instructor, administrator, and Founding Director for the Institute for Enology and Viticulture. A distinguished winemaker, he launched Walla Walla Vintners, a boutique winery, in 1995 – the ninth winery to be opened in the Walla Walla Valley. A graduate of Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, Anderson earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He also holds a master’s degree in counseling and educational psychology from Bucknell University and a doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Wyoming. An author of several instructional texts, in January 2000 Anderson was charged with developing and launching the enology and viticulture program at Walla Walla Community College. Since the program was launched, more than 1,600 students have completed enology and viticulture coursework. Dr. Anderson continues to consult with College Cellars and also serves on the advisory committee for the Institute for Enology and Viticulture.
Stan Clarke passed away on November 29, 2007 at his home in Waitsburg, WA. His loss continues to be felt by all.
College Cellars and the Institute for Enology & Viticulture are also guided by an Advisory Committee made up of some of the top winemakers and industry professionals in Washington State.
Past Members Include: