Saving the Red

“My great-grandfather was a winemaker and I’m following in his footsteps. With the WWIF scholarship funds, I can focus on my education and research, without having to patch together a network of part-time jobs. I’m not worried about living paycheck to paycheck.”

Zach Cartwright’s great grandfather was a winemaker on the Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan) Native American reservation in New Mexico. Zach never met his grandfather, but as the first person in his family to attend college, he was inspired by him. He earned a biochemistry degree at New Mexico State University, with a focus on wine.

By better understanding how this yeast persists and spreads in enological environments, we can provide the Washington wine industry with better manufacturing practices to avoid contaminations

“My passion for wine only grew after I got an internship at Rio Grande Winery in Las Cruces, New Mexico,” said Zach. “Gordon Steel, the winery owner, was a graduate of the wine program at Washington State University and insisted I look for graduate school opportunities at WSU.”

After Zach visited WSU and Eastern Washington University, he was impressed by the growth and development of the wine industry. He toured local wineries and spoke with Dr. Charles Edwards, of WSU’s V & E program, and decided WSU was the right place for him.

A PhD candidate in Food Science, Zach is focused on wine microbiology and processing. “Specifically, I’m looking at the spoilage microorganism, Brettanomyces bruxellensis, and trying to better understand how widespread infections can be prevented.”

Conducting research and paying for Grad school can be challenging. “I heard about the WWIF Scholarship in a weekly email sent to Food Science students,” Zach said. Dr. Edwards, now a mentor, had several former students win WWIF scholarships and encouraged Zach to apply as well.

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