October 27, 2012 in Business

Wine vessel gift to WSU worth $600,000


During a recent groundbreaking in Richland, Spokane Industries’ Greg Tenold said the Spokane Valley company is donating wine vessels worth $600,000 to Washington State University’s planned Wine Science Center.

The company, which has a metal products group that builds wine vessels for fermentation and storage, has an obligation to help the state keep its winemaking industry flourishing, Tenold said.

“We feel we want to support the region’s wine industry. Washington makes premium wines. We make premium wine vessels,” Tenold said. “So it was a way for us to give some payback.”

WSU was given $5 million from the state Legislature for the project. The school obtained $7.4 million from state winemakers and hopes to raise another $8 million in time to begin construction next year and open in 2014.

Spokane Industries is providing both fermenters and storage vessels from 15-gallon to 50-gallon capacity, all made of stainless steel. Those sizes are far smaller than commercial vessels, but they fit the need of researchers testing small batches of different varietals.

The gift resulted from a visit to Spokane Industries by Rob McKinney, vice president of operations for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and Caroline Troy, a development officer for WSU.

McKinney and Troy visited Tenold’s production plant and explained the science center’s goals. It took no time for Tenold to make a commitment. “Greg was extremely gracious in his support for the center,” McKinney said.

Tom Sowa, staff writer

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