Washington State University has raised $17 million to build the Wine Science Center in Richland and is on track to break ground next year, The Seattle Times is reporting.
Construction is expected to take 12 months and WSU officials say it is conceivable that the Wine Science Center could be crushing its first grapes during the 2014 harvest.
Ted Baseler, CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in Woodinville and chairman of the Wine Science Center fundraising effort, was amazed by how quickly the funds have come in amid the crushing national economic downtown, The Times reported.
"In the beginning, people thought we were crazy to build this during such a tough time," he said.
Chateau Ste. Michelle officials also sent out a thank-you last week to the more than 200 restaurants that have joined the winery in supporting Viticulture and Enology programs at Northwest colleges. To date, the group has raised over $200,000 for future wine industry professional scholarships, the news release said.
For a list of those donating, click here.