BBCC Ag graduate begins career in wine industry

Girl looking at wine bottles

MOSES LAKE —Recent Big Bend Community College graduate Emma Gunderson has wasted no time in putting her degree to use. Gunderson received her Agricultural Business degree winter quarter and shortly after, landed a job with Ancient Lake Wine Company in Quincy.

The company specializes in bulk wine, custom winemaking, wine storage and bottling services. Gunderson was brought on as a full-time quality control technician for their bottling line.

“A main part of my job is checking the bottling line, making sure the product labels and packaging are correct,” said Gunderson. “I’m also responsible for collecting samples and making sure that’s all in order, too. Then I communicate that with the customers.”

Gunderson graduated from Ephrata High School in 2016. At the time, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in the wine industry but she wasn’t sure how to make that happen.

“I started at BBCC at first to save money and to be able to stay at home with my horses until I transferred to a university,” said Gunderson. “But then I had a friend in the Ag program talk to me about it and it seemed right up my alley.”

So she decided to stay and pursue an Ag Business degree.

Gunderson said she enjoyed learning from instructors who were also part of the local agriculture industry.

“My instructors all worked, or still work, in Ag and taught based on their personal experiences, which was really helpful,” she said. “I also enjoyed the freedom we had to pick our interests and apply the lessons to what we wanted to pursue.”

Gunderson said she also liked that the program had some work-based learning built in, which allowed her to gain some valuable experience before graduating. It was also how she got on her future employers’ radar, she said.

“I actually sent Ancient Lake my resume and cover letter because I wanted to do my work-based learning there,” said Gunderson. “They weren’t ready for me at the time, but then a few months later at harvest, they called and asked if I wanted a job.”

After harvest, Gunderson continued to work part-time for them while she finished up her last few classes. She said she was excited when they offered her the full-time quality control position after graduating.

Gunderson said she hopes to one day get into the marketing and management side of the wine business.

“Until then, I’m enjoying learning as much as I can,” said Gunderson. “My goal is to be with this company and grow with them and in the industry.”

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