KENNEWICK, Wash. – College Cellars of Walla Walla, the winemaking program for Walla Walla Community College, remained at the head of the class for the Tri-Cities Wine Festival by using a 2016 Barbera to claim the title of best of show in 2018.

A year ago, College Cellars topped Washington state’s longest-running wine competition with a semi-sparkling Muscat grown at Inland Desert Vineyard near Red Mountain. Last month, they beat out 379 entries for the top honor.

“We and our students are proud to win this award back-to-back,” Sabrina Lueck, instructor of enology at College Cellars, told Great Northwest Wine via text. “Our program has built relationships with regional grape growers so that our students have access to high-quality fruit, frequently from less conventional varieties. It is very rewarding to see the enthusiasm and appreciation for the two very different styles of wine.”

Tim Donahue, the school’s director of winemaking, and Lueck sourced the Barbera from one of the state’s most historic sites – Ciel du Cheval Vineyard on Red Mountain. Results from the competition were announced and celebrated Nov. 10 at Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. A number of the students staffed the College College booth at the public tasting.

“We are thankful that the Tri-Cities Wine Society provides a platform for our student wines to be judged with their peers,” Lueck said. “The annual festival provides a great opportunity for our students to gain festival experience. We’ll be back!”

College Cellars also earned a double gold medal and best of class for its 2016 Cockburn Ranch Vineyard Syrah and a best of class for its 2017 Sauvignon Blanc. A number of College Cellars products earned best of class awards in the Tri-City judging, include Victor de la Luz (De la Luz Wines) and Victor Palencia (Jones of Washington, Vino la Monarcha), as well as double gold medals for Marcus Miller (Airfield Estates) and Shane Collins (Tsillan Cellars, now at Rocky Pond Winery).

Yakima Valley Vintners, the viticulture and enology program at Yakima Valley College’s Grandview campus, earned a double gold and best of class for its 2017 Study Skills Chardonnay as well as a gold medal for its 2015 Dean’s List Primitivo.

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