YVCC to offer online vineyard and winery courses
A grant from the National Science Foundation is making this possible.
Courtesy Yakima Valley Community College
Yakima Valley Community College hopes to reach more Pacific Northwest students interested in vineyard and winery technology by realigning its curriculum for online courses. A grant awarded from the National Science Foundation last summer for more than $570,000 is making the online curriculum possible.
YVCC’s vineyard and winery technology program was launched in 2007; the program had its first graduates in 2009. Students can earn an associate or applied sciences degree in vineyard and winery technology or a certificate. About 30 students are currently enrolled in the program.
In the fall, students become winemakers, crushing and fermenting grapes in the college’s teaching winery located at the remodeled Grandview campus. Blending, bottling, and wine maintenance courses are taught in winter and spring. Wines made by the students are sold by the case, glass, or bottle in the winery’s tasting room. The teaching winery also has two incubator (start-up) winery spaces, an offering unique to any other wine program in the nation, according to YVCC’s Web site. The incubator spaces combine the academic and business environment into one setting while providing a learning environment for students.
A teaching vineyard, established in 2009, gave students a unique learning experience by involving them in the vineyard preparation and planting process and will give future students hands on learning about vineyard management. Cabernet Franc, Lemberger, and Riesling wine grapes are being grown in the teaching vineyard.
Most classes are offered in the evening to give educational opportunities to traditional students, as well as local industry members. Online courses or hybrid versions will help YVCC expand its reach beyond students living in close proximity to the college.
Catherine Jones, director of the online curriculum grant project, reports that course redesign will begin this spring and should be completed by the 2013-2014 school year. When the project is done, 14 courses will be offered online.