College Cellar’s recent vintages bear the producer’s new logo and label designs.

A winery that integrates the highest level of new techniques and technology needs a label that reflects its cutting-edge approach.

That’s the goal behind the new logo for College Cellars of Walla Walla, revealed during a Wine Industry Roundtable gathering Monday.

The previous label design has been replaced with graphics that incorporate letters representing both Walla Walla Community College and College Cellars.

It’s a shift that updates the image of the program as fresh and innovative, said Sabrina Lueck, instructor of enology. It is the first major such update since the program was founded in 2000 by then-college President Steve VanAusdle and founding Director Myles Anderson.

The original label incorporated a hand-crank press on a yellowish colored timeworn label, reflecting an Old-World style.

“The previous leadership was visionary and had an eye on the future. Steve and Myles knew that Walla Walla Valley had a future in world-class winemaking and created the institute to support the wine industry,” Lueck said.

“When they asked local industry leaders what they wanted in an educational program, they strongly said that the core principle had to be the production of high-quality wine. Our new label reflects their vision and shows the polish and quality that is expected of Walla Walla wine.”

The new design was created by Sara Nelson. It was announced to people on the winery’s mailing list, and the first bottles with the new labels have been sent to wine club members.

College Cellars was Walla Walla’s 20th bonded winery. Even as it blazed a trail as a hands-on tool for students in wine education and one of the country’s first two-year teaching wineries, it also faced a different kind of challenge.

As a state institution, the college couldn’t have ownership of the winery because it would put it in a position where the state was producing alcohol while also being viewed as competing with the private sector.

Thus College Cellars has been an endeavor under the Walla Walla Community College Foundation.

Seventeen years later, the producer has earned a reputation as a cutting-edge operation — for the students and by the students — enhancing the wine industry as a feeder of up-and-coming professionals and winery operators. It has earned close to 1,000 medals and reviews, and has produced more than 100 graduates who have either started wineries or are working in the trade.

Students produce more than 25 wines per year, ranging from cabernet sauvignon to Méthode Champenoise sparkling wines and port-style fortified wines, Lueck said.

The 15 varieties in the estate vineyards are cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, petit verdot, cab Franc, carmenére, marsanne, roussanne, viognier, barbera, tempranillo, semillon, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and aligoté.

The program currently has five staff members and 60 students (30 in each class), coming from across the country. Most of the wines are made with fruit grown and managed by students.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at 509-526-8321, vickihillhouse@wwub.com or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/VickiHillhouse.

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