Andrew Gerow testing wine in his Blended Learning class at WSU.

Cross-country journey kick-started award-winning wine student’s career

By Scott Weybright, CAHNRS

When then-18-year-old Andrew Gerow packed his car to drive from his home in Michigan to start at WSU Tri-Cities, he knew what he wanted from his education.

Andrew Gerow working in the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center.

Andrew Gerow working in the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center.

Gerow said he visited the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center before enrolling and “I knew immediately that I wanted to attend WSU.”“I’ve always loved anything to do with art and science,” said the Grand Rapids, Michigan native. “I literally stumbled upon WSU’s wine program online, and I couldn’t get it out of my head.”

Three years later, Gerow, who will graduate in December 2020, has been named the Wine Spectator Wine Science Student of the Year.

“I was shocked when Dr. Henick-Kling told me,” Gerow said. “That was a great Zoom call because they tricked me, saying that they wanted to talk about my Blended Learning projects.”

Thomas Henick-Kling is the director of WSU’s Viticulture and Enology program.

Blended Learning is the program’s hands-on winemaking class that culminates in the production of commercial wines made by students. It has been Gerow’s favorite class so far during his time at WSU.

“The discussions about wine varieties, tasting different varieties to see what we like and what we don’t, then talking about how to produce what we want, it has been fantastic,” Gerow said. “I was involved in four projects, and two will go to market in the near future.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the timeline for Blended Learning releases hasn’t been determined yet. But when they do come out, Gerow will have two Rieslings and a rosé on his wine resume.

“I’m really happy with the results,” he said. “The timing is off, they were supposed to be bottled a few weeks ago, but they will eventually be available.”

“He’s an impressive student,” Henick-Kling said. “He’s graduating in three and a half years, and will make great contributions to our industry.”Gerow earned the student of the year honor, and corresponding scholarship, through his high academic achievement, his initiative and engagement with other students in Blended Learning, and his great follow-up work with the partner wineries, Henick-Kling said.

Gerow has worked in three wineries (two in Washington, one in Traverse City, Michigan), and two vineyards. He’s spent time in tasting rooms pouring and selling wine, and in the cellar.

His goal is to gain international experience after graduating by working in Australia or New Zealand.

After getting some more hands-on experience, he also plans to attend graduate school to further his formal wine education.

“My ultimate goal is to own a medium-sized estate winery one day,” Gerow said. “There is so much to learn when it comes to wine and winemaking. The balance between art and science is incredibly addicting and I can’t wait to keep learning.”

About the Wine Spectator Scholarship Program

The Wine Spectator Scholarship Program was developed in 2018 thanks to a generous contribution from the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation.  Each year, $99,000 is awarded to outstanding V&E students. Congratulations to this year scholars:

Wine Spectator Student of the Year

  • Andrew Gerow

Wine Spectator Undergraduate Scholars

  • Megan Meharg
  • Jordan Culpepper
  • Ava Pearson
  • Autumn Miller
  • Erin Lopez
  • Christopher Gutierrez
  • Bayli Picker
  • Dalia Montero
  • Yaritza Gomez
  • Michael Nunnelee

Wine Spectator Graduate Fellows         

  • Lindsey Kornowske
  • Bailey Hallwachs