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The Washington Wine Industry Foundation (Foundation) announced that two would receive a Powers Sabbatical Award in 2020. The Powers Family Sabbatical awards up to $5,000 to cover expenses for a mid-level industry professional to travel abroad to expand knowledge about growing or making wine with the objective to share learnings with Washington State growers and vintners.

Sadie Drury is General Manager of North Slope Management where she manages and serves as viticulturist for eight vineyards in the Walla Walla AVA–including Seven Hills Vineyard. Drury’s Sabbatical trip is to South Australia to learn about changing climate and impacts of fires, hotter summers, and less available water–issues South Australia has battled for a decade. Drury said, “The Sabbatical is important because it allows industry members to travel and learn what other wine regions in the world are doing that is different than Washington. This may be cutting edge technology, or practices that have been implemented for many years that Washington hasn’t tried yet. The requirement for the recipient to share their findings will elevate their colleagues’ practices as well as their own, further improving Washington wine.”

Andrew Schultz owns Brothers in Farms, LLC in Sunnyside, a custom vineyard management and consulting company for over 300 acres with over 25 employees. Schultz is traveling to Chile to discuss irrigation practices with vineyard managers because Chile has similarities including mostly planted to own-rooted vines, similar latitude and dry growing conditions and soil types. Schultz said, “I hope to learn about Chilean growing programs and challenges they see in a typical season. Many in the industry have to answer similar questions on a yearly basis. Tools, materials, education, experience and culture are always different in different places and these affect the people and how they solve these problems. Seeing someone else’s solutions enhances your own. I hope to see how others meet the same challenges.”

Schultz shared that the Sabbatical Program is “game-changing for the Washington wine industry”. He went on to say, “It provides monetary support for young professionals to travel and experience the wine industry around the world. They bring back to share with industry resulting in an increase in knowledge and experience for the Washington wine industry as a whole. Relationships are formed that will persist for years and widen the breadth and problem-solving skills of everyone.”

The Foundation helps fund solutions for industry challenges including the need for a future workforce that is well-educated and prepared. To learn more about the Foundation and its Sabbatical Program, visit: washingtonwinefoundation.org.

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