College Wine Programs Enrich the Community

There is an interesting article in the Wine Industry Advisor Afternoon Brief on Monday (Nov. 11) about how a strong college wine program produces jobs in wine regions.

Sabrina Lueck, Assistant Enologist for College Cellars, the winery attached to the Walla Walla, WA Community College’s Institute of Enology and Viticulture, speaking at the Southeastern United Grape and Wine Symposium in North Carolina, had positive data about the difference a strong college wine program has on the community. As Ms. Lueck said, “It’s not just about the wine industry, but it’s about the associated jobs that come with it.” (You can read the entire article clicking on THIS LINK.)

As we all know, once the wine industry becomes a part of the community, many jobs are created in ancillary industries that cater to wine tourists, including lodgings, restaurants and other retail businesses.

Not only is the Institute of Enology and Viticulture thriving at Walla Walla Community College, their Wine Country Culinary Institute is also going great guns, teaching students about food and wine and filling wineries needs for event catering.

Many colleges and universities are starting or exploring the feasibility of wine and ancillary programs to support the industry. Wineries can be a great influence in helping their local colleges and universities become stronger with the initiation of wine industry classes. Certainly in Sonoma County (in fact in all of Northern California) the local junior colleges and universities are deep into enology and viticulture studies, wine marketing, sales and just about every other facet of the industry. I personally teach classes at both Sonoma State University and Santa Rosa Junior College and love the classes I teach.

Wine and culinary classes are good for the schools as they bring in people with a wide range of interests in these subjects; some students plan to work in the industry, while others just have a passion for wine or food. The focus on wine in these different regions also helps local wineries to promote their wines to a broader audience.

If your local community colleges are universities are not offering classes, it might be a good time to start planting the seed to do so. And, if you don’t have enough to do (a little light humor), you might want to teach a class or two yourself.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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