Yakima Valley College's wines named 'Best of the Best' - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Valley College's wines named 'Best of the Best'

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YAKIMA, WA - One of the area's best winemakers may be much younger than you think. Yakima Valley College's Winery Program is celebrating the highest honors from the Wine Press Northwest Competition: they submitted their 2013 'Dean's List' Tempranillo and 2013 Primativo wines for blind judging - two among 530 entries.

Both wines were judged by wine experts to be 'Best of the Best', and received platinum and double-platinum awards.

The entire wine-making process was done by students, who take the wine all the way from the grape to the glass.

"Students are processing the fruit, conducting the fermentation, making decisions on barrels and condensation techniques, then the barrels are aged for a period of time," says Trent Ball, Winery Program Instructor.

Brad Smith, the instructional technician for the program, says this competition is beneficial to both the students and the school's winery.

"It gives us an opportunity to get the name out about the winery, but also the success in making those wines and having them compared to winemakers who have been doing it for decades," he explains.

He says the students use their own tastes and preferences to make the wine, and they even name the varietals themselves.

"One thing we don't want them to do is be here and see wine being made but not be a part of making that wine. So, they're not observers, they're participants all the way through."

All proceeds from wine the program sells go right back into funding the program for future students.

Ball and Smith say the students are beyond honored that their work has been validated, and that these wines will be huge resume boosters for students looking to pursue careers in the wine industry soon.