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Rhone Rangers Scholarship Program



Grant Funds for Viticulture & Enology Students.
Over the last decade the Rhone Rangers have awarded thousands of dollars in grants to deserving students in accredited viticulture and enology programs in the US.  Our board of directors formed a Scholarship Committee, whose members review grant applications every spring.  Our mission is to support the next generation of American Rhone wine makers, through the funding of grants in conjunction with accredited viticulture and enology programs at major universities in this country, to help insure that they will have the skills needed to produce these wines.
Click here for the 2015 application form.

Rhone Rangers Professional Travel Study Grant in conjunction with the James Beard Foundation.
In the fall of 2012 the Rhone Rangers established a relationship with the James Beard Foundation for the purpose of making travel study grant awards to up-and-coming sommeliers or chefs to further their knowledge of American Rhone varietal wines.  Grant funds are to be used to facilitate working sommeliers or chefs to learn about American Rhone varietal wines by visiting several notable wineries and meeting the winemakers. The amount of the grant will be based on the time and expense needed to complete a specific itinerary. Covered expenses (up to $5,000) are: air and ground travel, lodging, and meals. For more information and to download the grant application, click HERE.  The deadline to apply has been extended to June 30, 2015.



These deserving students have received funds from us within the last five years:



“Thanks to the generosity of the Rhone Rangers, I was able to purchase supplies necessary to complete my research on plant hormone balance in Syrah. The old maxim that a struggling vine makes better wine holds a genuine kernel of truth. My work with Syrah will help viticulturists to better understand the relationship between the hormone class ‘Strigolactones’ and excess green growth, in an effort to improve fruit quality.”


Eileen Harbertson
Master of Science, Horticulture
Washington State University 2012

Landon Kiersey
Bachelor of Science, Viticulture
Washington State University 2010

In 2009 Landon was awarded a grant to study the effect of co-fermentation of Syrah and Viognier on color, aromas and tannins. Today, he is Head Winemaker for his own brand, Pandora Cellars, in Carnation, WA, and he is making Syrah, Marsanne and Petite Sirah-based blends. “I still do appreciate the Rhone Rangers for providing me with the funds to produce experimental wines during my time at WSU. I am very proud to carry on the traditions and put my own special twist on the nobles grapes of the Rhone Valley.”

“I am very grateful for the scholarship from the Rhone Rangers to fund research on wine grape clones, specifically three primary Rhone red varietals, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Grenache, and selected clones within those varieties. The reliance of viticulturists and winemakers on observed variations between clones within certain varieties requires dependable identification of individual clones. I am using a genetic marker technique called TRAP (target region amplification polymorphism) to detect differences between Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Grenache, and differences between clones within those varieties.”

Kathie Nicolson
Master of Science
Washington State University 2012


Yun Zhang
Candidate for PhD
Washington State University 2013

“My initial research was on late-season shriveling behavior and weight loss in Syrah. Additional research has also been done on how the moisture movement from clusters to leaves has an impact on the ripening process. After receiving my PhD, I plan to conduct additional research on the biophysics of water movement in grapevines and the effect of deficit irrigation."

"Syrah is an important wine grape in California but is potentially difficult to manage in the vineyard due to its excessive vigor. Vigorous grapevines require more labor for canopy management; I conducted an experiment to assess the effects of two pruning levels with three degrees of labor-intensive canopy management techniques on maturation rate and harvest parameters for two growing seasons.

Instead of using the scholarship money I received from the Rhone Rangers to pay full price at a lab, I was connected with a lab owner in Paso Robles who allowed me to do all of the prep work for all the analysis I wanted and was only charged 50% of the retail price. This ended up benefitting me in two ways; I was able to look at everything I wanted for half of the original price I was quoted at another lab and I also learned the processes that go into the analysis. I can honestly say that I would have half the thesis that I was able to finish had I not received the scholarship from the Rhone Rangers.”

Jeffrey Landolt
Master of Science
California State Polytechnic University 2010