Washington Wine Industry Needs More Skilled Workers - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington Wine Industry Needs More Skilled Workers

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SUNNYSIDE--Washington's wine industry is booming, but the amount of skilled workers hasn't kept up with the industry's fast growth.

Washington has four times more wineries than it did eight years ago, but a lack of skilled workers might start holding the industry back.

A study released last week said wineries and vineyards could start having trouble finding capable workers.  Declining interest in all agricultural fields is drying up the pool of workers.  For the wine industry, that specifically means vineyard management jobs, winemakers and lab technician positions are available.

A Sunnyside winemaker and member of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers told KNDO that the industry wants to address the issue before it becomes a problem.

"And just to get everyone within the industry aware of it so that we can get people that are not in the industry aware of it as well," Todd Newhouse

Central Washington does have good local education programs at schools like Washington State University and Yakima Valley Community College in Grandview.

Programs can take anywhere from one to four years.  Newhouse expects these skilled winemaking jobs to become well-paying because good candidates are hard to find.