In 2011, Nicole “Coco” Umiker was bestowed by the Washington State University Alumni Association its highest honor for outstanding achievement in the wine industry and commitment to the community and education.
“Your successful winery and vineyard ventures are testaments to your exceptional work ethic, entrepreneurial courage, and intellectual curiosity. You are an inspiration to past, current, and future students. Additionally, your research and publications will help shape the future of viticulture and provide opportunities for further innovation. Your leadership and myriad contributions bring honor to your alma mater. For all that and much more, the WSUAA is honored to present you with the 536th Alumni Achievement Award.”
Thank you to the Alumni Association Board of Directors for deciding to bestow onto me the 536th Washington State University Alumni Achievement Award. Someone out there nominated me. To you, whoever you are, I’ll be forever grateful for your show of support for my personal journey through graduate school and beyond. To Karl, this award is as much mine as it is yours. We’ve been a team for 18 years. It’s your steady hand and wisdom that has kept us on track and always pushing to see around the next bend in the road.
The microphone at our most recent wine club release event was suddenly taken over by the WSU Alumni Association and I was left basically speechless (rare occurrence for me) with their presentation. I’ve had time now to reflect and understand more about this longstanding award and I’m truly humbled to be included among so many great Cougs. This list has been compiling since 1970 and includes a kaleidoscope of alumni that have pursued their passions in coaching, music, science etc. There are a handful of ‘wine folks’ on the list, two of which (Rick Small & Ted Baseler) we’ve admired for a long time. The Alumni Association wrote a nice article to explain why in the world they would award such a thing to an Idahoan!