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Washington State University
Dividend - Fall 2022 Features

WSU Tri‑Cities and Port of Benton Partnership Offers Wine and Culinary Education at Walter Clore Center

By Sue McMurray

Photo courtesy of Port of Benton

If Walter Clore, a man largely known as the “Father of Washington wine” could see the educational offerings the Carson College of Business is bringing to a center that bears his name, he would undoubtedly raise a toast to progress.

Last year, WSU Tri-Cities and the Port of Benton formed a partnership to implement wine and culinary education offerings at the Walter Clore Center in Prosser, Washington, adding to its continuing education and workforce development programs.

“We are elated to offer programming that will not only educate individuals about the history of Washington state wine, but also provide sensory and other hands-on experiences that will allow individuals to do a deep dive into all that Washington wine has to offer,” says WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Sandra Haynes.

“WSU’s alignment with regional wine and culinary education is indisputable, and we’re delighted to take this next step with them in ensuring Dr. Clore’s memory is honored,” says Diahann Howard, professional port manager and Port of Benton’s executive director.

Clore Center program innovation prevails during unexpected closure and loss

WSU Tri-Cities School of Hospitality Business Management faculty Bob Harrington and Byron Marlowe, along with Joan Giese, career-track associate professor of marketing, met with wine industry professionals and Clore Center staff to create plans for seminars, events, and coursework at the facility. As one example, students could complete sensory components for the WSU hospitality school’s online Wine and Beverage Business Management Certificate—before unexpected events disrupted program delivery.

Due to the pandemic, the center closed temporarily. In late December, Marlowe, who was overseeing the hospitality school’s programming at the center, passed away unexpectedly.

Both incidences created uncertainty regarding when and how programs would resume at the center. Currently, Harrington and Giese are moving forward with plans for in-person wine and beverage business management training.

New programs on the horizon

The center’s spacious facility will provide the perfect venue for the in-person role-play credential the hospitality school is developing as a supplement to the online Wine Tasting Room Certificate. The certificate offers training for winery tasting room servers, managers, or anyone interested in learning more about Washington wines. When winery owners expressed value in adding the credential to the certificate, faculty began developing plans to offer it at the center in the future.

Harrington may extend the hospitality school’s current culinary arts certificate with an ESL aspect for individuals seeking to develop their English language skills in the contexts of food service and hospitality operations. While the certificate will be delivered primarily through the Pasco Specialty Kitchen, a commercial kitchen for food entrepreneurs, there is potential to offer in-person components of the certificate at the center. The program will be designed to help bridge language barriers and promote professional and personal growth.

“Businesses are looking for a way to train and retain workers,” says Harrington. “WSU needs to be this partner.”

Excerpts taken from “WSU Tri-Cities Partners with Port of Benton to Offer Wine and Culinary Education at Newly Reopened Clore Center” by Maegan Murray, published September 16, 2021, in the WSU Insider.