The Wine Society of Texas (WST), a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization, is pleased to announce that it will be awarding scholarships totaling $7,000 in support of three students. These students are: (a) attending institutions in the State of Texas, (b) studying viticulture and oenology, (c) pursuing winery internships in Texas, (d) involved with Texas winemaking or field studies / wine education, or (e) involved in promoting the education of grape growing and winemaking in the State of Texas.
This scholarship assistance program is consistent with the founding ideas of WST and its continued mission to enhance the appreciation of wines, foster the knowledge of oenology and viticulture, support charitable activities, and educate wine consumers throughout the State of Texas. The funding for the WST Scholarship Program is provided through charitable donations, local WST Chapter fund raising events, and annual statewide wine events.
Following is a summary of this year’s award recipients:
$3,000 James F. Whitley Founders Scholarship is awarded to Michael Cook
Mr. Cook is a full-time Extension Viticulturist completing his PHD in horticulture at Texas A&M University. He obtained his Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University, majoring in Horticulture and Master of Science from Fresno State University with a major in Viticulture and Enology.
His PHD project focuses on understanding grapevines’ stress response and resiliency from the perspective of a “whole plant” system all the way down to the metabolic and genomic level in hot continental climates. Michael currently serves on the boards of the American Society of viticulture, Eastern Section, National Viticulture and Enology Extension Leadership Conference, and Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association. In addition, he has received numerous awards and honors over the last 10 years.
$3,000 scholarship is awarded to Cassie Marbach in memory of John Latimer, a Charter Member of the Permian Basin Chapter.
Mrs. Marbach is currently a doctoral candidate at Texas A&M University and plans to obtain her PHD in August 2024. Afterwards her goal is to pursue WSET Level 4 certification. She graduated from Texas Tech in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Viticulture and Enology while graduating Summa Cum Laude.
Cassie’s research is (1) centered around exploring innovative ways to encourage consumers to try hard to pronounce varietals, (2) exploring the economic viability of producing verjus in Texas, and (3) provide new insights into cluster thinning. Cassie was previously awarded Wine Society of Texas scholarships in 2021 and 2022.
$1,000 scholarship is awarded to Tiffany Menacci
Mrs. Menacci is currently the winemaker and outside sales manager for Haak Winery. She is currently pursuing WSET level 3 certification from the Texas Wine School. She has a Bachelor of Science in Professional Microbiology from Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Master of Science in Hydrologic Sciences from Boise State. She also obtained a Winemaker Professional Certificate from Texas Tech University. Tiffany is proud that Haak’s 2022 Dry Blanc Du Bois won Platinum at the 2023 TEXSOM awards. She is also proud to have been awarded a Wine Society of Texas Scholarship in 2020 and 2021.
“We are excited about the quality of the applications we continue to receive,” said Ms. Shirley Choate, State President of the WST. “We are pleased to continue our long tradition of providing meaningful scholarships to these worthy individuals who have a passion for the Texas wine industry and helping in its growth and evolution. This is our way of ‘going local’ to support Texas talent and invest in the future of the Texas wine industry.
The WST is proud to have now provided scholarships of over $116,000 in the last 21 years through our Scholarship Program. This is all due to the continuous support and efforts of our Wine Society of Texas members and those individuals who have made donations through the Wine Society of Texas website. We want to thank you for your commitment.”
For more information about the scholarship program or the WST please visit the website at www.winesocietyoftexas.org or contact WST by phone (713) 705-8574.