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The Winiarski Family Foundation Awards Grant To Support Colorado Wine Industry

Napa Valley Winemaking Legend Warren Winiarski Invests in Viticulture and Enology Program at Colorado Mesa University/Western Colorado Community College in Grand Junction
by The Winiarski Family
October 23, 2020


Napa, Calif., October 22, 2020--The Winiarski Family Foundation, founded by Napa wine-making legend Warren Winiarski with his wife Barbara, has awarded a $150,000 grant to Western Colorado Community College’s Viticulture and Enology Program at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. The grant establishes the “Warren Winiarski, Gerald Ivancie Institute of Viticulture and Enology” and provides funding for scholarships, programs and research projects to assist Colorado’s current cadre of winemakers and growers in their on-going efforts to advance the quality and reputation of their wines, while also offering opportunities in the industry to a new generation. Fifty-thousand dollars of the gift will be offered in the form of a matching grant, bringing total support to $200,000, when the matching funds are raised.

Winiarski has historic ties with the winemaking industry in Colorado. In 1968, fresh from a two-year stint as the first winemaker at the new Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley, he was recruited by Dr. Gerald Ivancie to help start his pioneering Denver, Colorado winery, Ivancie Cellars. Using grapes initially sourced from California, Ivancie Cellars became the first Colorado winery to make wine from Vitis vinifera grape varieties. Winiarski eventually left Ivancie’s winery to establish Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley, but he maintained a keen interest in the development of Colorado’s burgeoning wine industry. 

“Winiarski is among the most celebrated personalities in the wine industry,” said CMU President Tim Foster. “Before his wine became his vocation, he pursued an academic career and was a Lecturer in Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago. So, he understands the world of wine and the world of education and how they can work jointly to advance Colorado’s wine businesses. Mr. Winiarski’s affiliation with our university will benefit our students for generations to come.” 

Winiarski’s belief in the University’s viticulture and enology program came as a welcome surprise to Program Director, Jenne Baldwin-Eaton, who has been involved in Colorado winemaking for more than two decades. “Warren is not only one of the most famous people in our discipline, he’s also one of my personal heroes. It’s very uplifting when someone like that believes in what you are doing,” she said. “Mr. Winiarski’s generosity and belief in the future of Colorado wine makes me proud to be a part of its beginnings.” 

Today, with roughly 150 wineries and more than 1,000 acres of vineyards, the Colorado wine industry plays an increasingly important role in agri-business for the state. The Winiarski Family Foundation grant recognizes that the state’s wine industry faces unique challenges due to its climate and rugged terrain. “Colorado’s conditions are different from ours in California. With these funds,” Winiarski says, ‘’I also hope to provide a platform for a collaborative approach between the diverse constituencies of Colorado’s wine industry. Working together, they can surmount challenges which are difficult to overcome through individual efforts and resources alone.  The original idea was for just a scholarship, but that would benefit only one student,” Winiarski continued. “I’m trying to help the whole industry, so I thought it would be better to also seed a collaborative program to help the industry become a successful, continuing and unified resource for all of Colorado.” 

The name, Warren Winiarski/Gerald Ivancie Viticulture and Enology Institute, honors Ivancie’s crucial pioneering vision and winemaking endeavor. “It was Gerry Ivancie’s vision. He saw the potential, and he encouraged the first growers to plant Vitis vinifera grape varieties by offering them a market for their crop. That was the initial, and successful, collaborative approach that got the project rolling.”

To contribute to the $50,000 matching fund program for the “Warren Winiarski, Gerald Ivancie Institute of Viticulture and Enology” please visit or contact Rick Adleman at .



About Warren Winiarski 

Warren Winiarski is a Napa Valley resident, grape grower, and philanthropist. He planted his first Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in 1970 in what is now the Stags Leap District AVA. As founder and former proprietor of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Mr. Winiarski is a Napa Valley winemaking icon with a deep legacy commencing when his 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon won the Judgment of Paris in 1976. That seminal event helped put Napa Valley on the global wine map. Currently, his well noted Arcadia Vineyards in the Coombsville AVA of Napa Valley is planted to Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A longtime advocate of Napa Valley land preservation, Mr. Winiarski has backed legislation during the past 50 years to protect agricultural and open space for future generations. He is a longstanding, avid supporter of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's American wine programs and has established funds to continually support the UC Davis Library's collections of prominent wine writers' manuscripts and papers. In 2017 Mr. Winiarski was inducted into the California Hall of Fame by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr, and in 2018 he was awarded Wine Enthusiast magazine’s Wine Star for American Wine Legend. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History awarded him the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal in 2019.  Mr. Winiarski lives with his wife, Barbara, in the Napa Valley.   For more information, please visit



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