WVC agriculture faculty member Francisco Sarmiento, left, with his son Francisco, a WVC agriculture student.
What do wine making and music have in common? Ear training. Everything about viticulture--from growing grapes to listening to the bacteria process taking place in a wine barrel--fascinates Francisco Sarmiento, a first-year WVC student who considered majoring in music but switched to a horticulture and tree fruit production degree.
In addition to working on his degree, Francisco is part of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP). CAMP director Marcia Fall works closely with Holly Bringman in the WVC Career Center to arrange and prepare students for job shadow experiences.
As part of his shadowing experience, Francisco met with winery managers for conversations about and hands-on experiences with wine making. At the Jones of Washington store in Pybus Market, he learned more about the business end of the wine industry. From Victor Palencia, director of wine making for J&S Crushing in Mattawa, which produces wine for Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest, Francisco learned more of the wine-making process--crushing, fermenting, and storage. And at Stemilt Creek Winery, he had the opportunity to shadow fellow student Jaime Reyes. There, Francisco helped bottle wine and listened to the bacteria process taking place inside the barrels--the sound of sugar being transformed into alcohol--and learned how, when that sound can no longer be heard, the fermentation process is complete and the wine is ready for bottling. He also took a tour of the orchard to learn more about the growing process.
"With job shadows, we get to meet new people and make an impression on our future managers," Francisco said, adding that the employers he shadowed "seemed excited to see someone this young starting to pursue this [career]. The industry is growing and they need new people."
Francisco hopes to one day own a large-scale vineyard. He plans to pursue additional job shadowing experiences, which include watching and learning from his father, Francisco Sarmiento senior, a WVC agriculture faculty member and recipient of the 2013 Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers Industry Service award.
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