Colorado Wine Industry Gets Support From Wine Legend Warren Winiarski

Napa Valley Wine Legend Warren Winiarski Invests in Colorado Wine and Grape Industries with Grant to CMU / WCCC Viticulture and Oenology Program

Warren Winiarski is a man who tends to see the world as a place of unrealized future potential, and his ability to turn potential into reality is reflected in the many accomplishments of his life. Prior to his world-renowned success in the wine business, Winiarski pursued an academic career – first through his studies at St John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland and later as a professor of liberal arts at the University. from Chicago. The appeal of the young and exciting Californian wine renaissance ultimately turned Winiarski away from college pursuits, but his college education, combined with this ability to see abstract potential where others haven’t, guided him. on the way to the events which ensured California’s reputation in the wine world.

Now, Mr. Winiarski’s vision will benefit the Colorado wine industry and students at Western Colorado Community College (WCCC) and Colorado Mesa University with a $ 150,000 grant from the Winiarski Family Foundation, the charitable foundation created by Winiarski and his wife, Barbara. The grant will benefit the WCCC Viticulture and Oenology Program. Fifty thousand dollars of the giveaway is being offered in the form of a matching fund challenge to other donors who share the vision for Winiarski Colorado wine. When fully matched, total support will be $ 200,000.

Winiarski’s track record in recognizing potential is strong. With this grant, the college and industry are receiving support from the man who saw a plum orchard and believed the land would be better suited for vines capable of producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon wines. At that time, most wine experts believed that the plum orchard location was too cool for the Cabernet grapes to ripen. But in 1976, Winiarski proved the skeptics wrong at the now infamous blind tasting of the Paris Judgment. Winiarski’s Cabernet Sauvignon Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1973 swept away some of France’s most prestigious early Cabernet Sauvignon wines and put California on a level playing field in the wine world.

Warren Winiarski

Winiarski sees a bright future for the young Colorado wine company. The Winiarski Family Foundation grant will help the industry realize its potential through an endowed scholarship, as well as academic and infrastructural support to the WCCC’s Viticulture and Oenology program – the first and only such program in the world. Colorado. The donation also creates the Warren Winiarski Institute of Viticulture and Oenology, Gerald Ivancie, whose name recognizes and honors Gerald Ivancie’s early contributions to the state’s wine industry. The institute aims to advance the Colorado wine industry through applied research projects to help address Colorado’s unique growing conditions with the goal of advancing Colorado wines from vine to glass. These efforts will ultimately benefit all parts of the industry, including growers, producers, commerce and consumers.

Jenne Baldwin-Eaton, director of the WCCC’s Viticulture and Oenology program, is excited about what the funding will do for the program and for the state’s wine industry.

Mr. Winiarski set an example of what can be achieved through collaboration, clear vision, hard work and tenacity. As he said at the VinCO event, “All ships go up with the rising tide. ”It’s a reminder that working together will bring benefits to all of us in the Colorado wine industry.

It is fitting that the viticulture and oenology program and the new institute created through Winiarski’s generosity reside in the palisade area of ​​Mesa County. The region has long enjoyed a worldwide reputation for its peaches, but over the years growers have turned to grapes, and Palisade is currently equally well known as one of Colorado’s premier wine regions. The Grand Valley is home to the Colorado Mountain Wine Festival, Colorado’s largest annual wine celebration. From now on, the institute will reside in the same community, but its mission is to serve the whole state.

Winiarski’s long-term vision for the institute, beyond research, is also to support young people. His own story is that of mentors who helped him deepen his knowledge of grape cultivation and wine making. The many articles written about his life reveal a respectful individual to those who have helped him, and he believes that supporting CMU and WCCC will provide the means for future mentors.

He also sees the benefit of locating the institute within a higher education establishment. As a former scholar, he knows that knowledge transfer is the mission of universities and colleges and, as such, can serve as a catalyst for future achievements.

“Support from a world famous figure like Mr. Winiarski does not come every day and I congratulate the instructors, students and graduates of our program for earning his trust in our program and our community,” said said CMU president Tim Foster. “The family’s financial generosity will help us tremendously, but Mr. Winiarski’s reputation will help us tremendously.

“We’re going to find creative ways to reach out to all of western Colorado and beyond who love wine and care about its future,” said Liz Meyer, CEO of the CMU Foundation. “They can make an additional investment knowing that this institute is a tangible way to help improve the Colorado wine business for generations of winemakers.”

To contribute to the $ 50,000 Matching Fund program for Warren Winiarski, Gerald Ivancie Institute of Viticulture and Oenology, please visit or contact Rick Adleman at [email protected] .


Written by David Ludlam

About Michael Brafford

Check Also

Fine Wine Trading Tips of the Week

Bordeaux Index Investment Manager, Matthew O’Connellshares his weekly fine wine trading tips based on recent …