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Weekend Pick: Teach, Tour & Taste at Yakima Valley Vintners

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Emilse Osorio, right, and Nereyda Ponce pose with the winning gold medal and “Best of Class” certificate that Yakima Valley Vintners earned for its 2014 Red Backpack wine at the Tri-Cities Wine Festival in 2016.

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima Valley Vintners, the teaching winery at Yakima Valley College’s Grandview campus, is not a mere academic exercise; the students down there actually make and sell wine.

And it’s good — good enough that the students’ wines have won more than 90 awards over the last nine vintages. The 2015 Dean’s List Primitivo, for instance, took a gold medal at the 2018 Washington Wine Competition. That’s a wine made from 100 percent primitivo grapes, a varietal you don’t see much around here. And the student winemakers spun it into gold. (And at a very reasonable $22 a bottle.)

You can find that and others at the Yakima Valley Vintners campus tasting room, which is open on Fridays and Saturdays from February through November. But the time to go, if you’re interested in learning more about wine and about this winery, is during Friday’s Teach, Tour & Taste open house. The annual event includes facility tours, wine tasting and the chance to interact with the faculty and students behind the wine.

“Having the opportunity to open the community’s eyes to what we are doing behind closed doors is worth more than I can explain,” wine marketing student Samantha Mallery said in a news release about the event. “We are passionate about this winery and this program, and we want to share what we’re learning with everyone.”

That’s a pretty enticing pitch, enough so that we’re making Teach, Tour & Taste this week’s Weekend Pick. The combination of education — a chance to peek behind the winemaking curtain and get a real understanding of what makes the Yakima Valley a special wine region — and the availability of delicious student-made wine put it over the top.

A note: The tasting, like the rest of the event, is free. But the wine is so reasonably priced by the bottle that you’ll probably want to bring your wallet anyway.

If you go

What: Teach, Tour & Taste

When: 5-8 p.m. Friday

Where: Yakima Valley Vintners on the campus of YVC Grandview, 110 Grandridge Road

Admission: Free

Information:, 509-882-7069

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