Each year the fund enables a professional currently employed in the Washington State grape or wine industry to undertake a sabbatical in an established wine-producing region of the world to learn about an aspect of wine grape growing and/or winemaking that will further their professional career and benefit the Washington grape and wine industry.
The sabbatical awards up to $5,000 to one individual currently working in the Washington state grape or wine industry with five years of experience in viticulture or enology. Funds may be used for travel, room and board, and other education-related expenses. This year two recipients, Sadie Drury and Andrew Schutz, have been selected to receive Powers Fund stipends.
TASTE News Service, July 9, 2019 - 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.”