The Walla Walla Community College (WWCC) has hired Stylianos Logothetis as the new director of the college’s renowned Institute for Enology and Viticulture. Logothetis will begin his new role at WWCC this July.
With more than 25 years of experience, Logothetis brings an impressive set of credentials to the position including work as an oenologist, university professor and consultant to the wine industry. He holds a Master of Philosophy and a Ph.D. in Yeast Physiology and Fermentation Biotechnology from Abertay Dundee University in Scotland. Logothetis is also a member of the Scottish Microbiology Society, European Federation of Biotechnology, and International Wine Organization (OIV).
In addition to heading up the academic programs, Logothetis will manage the estate vineyards, wine production and winery operations, and work closely with the local vineyards and wineries.
WWCC’s Institute for Enology and Viticulture is one of the most popular programs combining hands-on experience with coursework covering the art and science of winemaking and viticulture. Students from all over the United States attend the program. In addition to studying in the classroom, students supplement their learning by planting, maintaining and harvesting grapes from six acres of estate vineyards. They also work at College Cellars winery where they gain experience crushing, fermenting, aging, blending, marketing and selling award-winning wines.
With over 400 graduates, many have gone on to start successful wineries or have established themselves in prominent winemaking and vineyard management roles in Washington and other wine regions around the country.
SIP: What led you to pursue a career in the wine industry?
Stylianos Logothetis: To be honest, my first choice was to study chemical engineering. In Greece we have a very different system for admittance into a university. We have general exams at the end of the third grade of Lyceum, which is like 12th grade here in the United States. The School of Food Technology – Department of Enology at Technological Institute of Athens was my second choice. My score on the exams placed me there. During my studies, I fell in love with wine science and especially fermentation technology. Ultimately, I went to Scotland to study fermentation biotechnology where I received my Ph.D., and the rest is history.
SIP: What accomplishments are you most proud of?
SL: I think my Ph.D. because it is a unique study of fermentation, specializing in microorganism metabolism. I’m also proud of my ability to provide alternatives to manage problems during wine production and open new roads in product improvement related to the aromatic profile, longevity and taste of wines. Another area of pride, if I can be so bold, is my participation in the re-cultivation of two different lost grape varieties in two distinct areas of Greece. The varietals are Begleri on the island of Ikaria and Limniona in central Greece.
SIP: Given you’re the first director of the WWCC Institute for Enology not from Washington, what unique perspective do you bring to the role based on your wine industry experience in Europe?
SL: I think that my expertise in yeast and fermentation biotechnology will be one of the most unique perspectives. Twenty-seven years of winemaking experience brings a broad perspective as I have worked in many regional areas with different terroir and varieties, and in wineries with different needs.
Europe today belongs to the “New Old World” wine industry, meaning the wines are coming from the “Old World” of wine, but they have more modern character inspired by the “New World” methodologies introduced to give the wines a fruitier character and crispier taste, and to make them more consumer friendly. Countries like France, Greece, Italy and Spain are the beacons in the world wine industry. They represent an everyday competition not only in the level of wines they are producing but also in the research they are conducting. Every month, close to 500-600 research papers from all around the world are published related to wine production and vine cultivation. I have been intensely involved in this wine movement and my experience will be beneficial for the wine community in the Walla Walla Valley.
SIP: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
SL: Soccer is my biggest passion. When I was young, I played goalie professionally in Greece, and in New York I played with a semi-professional league. But I am getting older and slowing down a bit on the field. I enjoy reading, especially research publications. I’m a bit of a history buff, I like watching movies and getting out into nature. Cooking is another one of my passions and I love to cook traditional Greek dishes and create new dishes to share with friends. One of my favorite dishes that I love to cook for my friends here in the U.S. is slow roasted lamb with lemon potatoes. This dish will be perfect with a Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon.