• The Walter Clore Center in Prosser, WA., has re-opened under a partnership agreement between Washington State University Tri-Cities and the Port of Benton.

Walter Clore Center Re-Opens Under Partnership Between
Washington State University Tri-Cities and the Port of Benton

Washington State University Tri-Cities has announced that it has signed an agreement to partner with the Port of Benton to offer wine and culinary education at the newly reopened Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser, WA.

The Clore Center was established in 2014 as the result of a $2 million grant from the Federal Economic Development Administration. It was named in honor of Walter Clore, who many refer to as the “Father of Washington Wine.” The 15,000-square-foot facility features a tasting room, event space and educational center to teach individuals about Washington’s storied wine and agriculture industries.

For six years, the Clore Center allowed guests to taste wines from all over Washington in one, central location, which allowed guests to discover new wineries and learn about each unique region. The tasting room rotated between the state’s 14 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) each month and highlighted a collection of informative displays aimed towards the rich wine and agricultural history of the region. Additionally, the Center utilized its variety of event space and rented the facility for private and public events. The Center itself hosted numerous ticketed events geared towards wine education.

As part of the new partnership, WSU Tri-Cities will offer seminars, events and coursework at the facility for both WSU Tri-Cities students and the public under its continuing education and workforce development programs. WSU Tri-Cities will also lead the curatorial direction and display of Clore’s historical wine archive at the center as part of its Washington Wine History Initiative.

“WSU’s alignment with regional wine and culinary education is undisputable and we’re delighted to take this next step with them in ensuring that Dr. Clore’s memory is honored,” said Diahann Howard, Executive Director of the Port of Benton.

In December 2020, the previous operator of the Clore Center was forced to close the center’s doors as a result of difficulties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Given WSU Tri-Cities’ established programs in wine science, wine and beverage business management and hospitality business management, representatives from the Port of Benton reached out to WSU Tri-Cities to see if the university would be interested in providing educational programming at the center focusing on wine and agriculture.

“The Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center is a true gem for not only the regional wine industry, but for the extensive Washington wine industry state-wide and beyond,” said WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Sandra Haynes.  “We are elated to offer programming that will not only educate individuals about the history of Washington state wine, but also provide sensory and other hands-on experiences that will allow individuals to do a deep dive into all that Washington wine has to offer.”

Educational Programming

Byron Marlowe, WSU Tri-Cities associate professor of hospitality and wine and beverage business management, will oversee educational programming at the center. He brings a wealth of knowledge in wine, culinary and hospitality business management. He recently returned home after teaching and completing research at the IMC University of Applied Sciences in Austria as part of the Fulbright Program, where he studied best practices for winery tasting room experiences that can be applied throughout the world.

Educational programming began at the center in mid-September with students completing sensory components for the WSU Wine and Beverage Business Management Certificate. Additional educational opportunities, including those open to the public, will be available, soon.

As programming becomes available, more information will be posted about offerings and opportunities to engage with the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center on its new website at www.clorecenter.org.  At this time, the Clore Center is only open for scheduled events, which will be posted on the Center’s website when available to the public.  The partners hope to resume regular hours at the Center by summer of 2022.