Hi! I’m Katie and I’ve been spending my summer interning at the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, a non-profit that cultivates the wine industry throughout the Walla Walla Valley AVA. So far I’ve learned quite a lot about grapes and running a non-profit during my days at the downtown office and across the vineyards. Most of my duties entail communicating with wineries in the Walla Walla Valley AVA and consumers, developing events for winery members, and editing portions of the website. On top of my day-to-day work, my internship has allowed me a glimpse into the internal workings of a non-profit, run by incomparable business women. The Wine Alliance has a relatively new staff, so I’ve focused on creating and recording office procedures to create a foundation for incoming staff. Returning every day to work among intelligent, strong, positive, and passionate women has been the highlight of my experience. After graduation I hope to follow in their footsteps and join the ranks of benevolent businesswomen.
My first couple of weeks, I was thrown out of the frying pan and into the fire (or should I say out of the barrel and into the glass) as the Alliance geared up for its largest event, Celebrate. Every year the Alliance strives to showcase all Walla Walla Valley wines in a three-day event, allowing consumers, media, and wine makers all across the United States to taste 285 wines from 56 wineries. Suffice to say, pulling together the fifth year of a 1,000 ticket, sold-out event was as much work as it sounds like, but also great fun. I witnessed the depth of culture and economic flourish the wine industry brings to Walla Walla by personally interacting with the winemakers and consumers throughout the event.
Now that the event has subsided and most of the remaining havoc has been filed away, I’ve settled nicely into my role at the Wine Alliance. Each morning I greet my fellow staff, brief on our goals for the day, and set down to work, making the wine industry of Walla Walla more accessible for all who desire to experience it. Not only have I gained many important technical skills around the office (like enunciating Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance quickly into the phone), but I have gained deeper understanding of non-profit work. The experience of my internship has greatly developed my appreciation for the Walla Walla Valley and all the hard work that goes into your glass at the end of the day.
Experiences like Katie’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Victoria Wolff.