Surry Community College website
Surry Community College has received a $213,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and joins a 17 state partnership to deliver ground-breaking distance education opportunities for the emerging grape and wine industry. The project, a part of the Viticulture Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA), focuses on the establishment of programs of study in viticulture and enology through collaborations with educational institutions, government and industry across the country. VESTA creates a pathway for persons interested in certified training in Viticulture and Enology including hands-on field experiences using partnerships with area vineyards and wineries. Development of courses incorporating advances in science and technology in the industry and workshops/seminars on “best practices” for small to large scale grape and wine related operations will ensure a skilled workforce.
Surry will serve as a VESTA National Center of Excellence serving the eastern United States, sponsoring online “boot camps” and workshops/seminars inviting participation from across this section of the nation. These sessions will introduce the science of Viticulture and Enology, as well as Surry’s specific educational opportunities and state-of-the-art facilities. Surry’s online degree program would then allow interested persons to pursue a certificate, diploma or degree in Viticulture and Enology including new vineyard and winery development and professional development for the current industry.
National partners who will share in the $4.3 million National Science Foundation grant with Surry Community College are Missouri State, Michigan State University, Kent State University, Niagara County Community College, NY; Yakima Valley Community College, WA ; Arkansas Tech University, Rend Lake College, IL ; Ivy Tech Community College, IN; Northwest Iowa Community College, Highland Community College, KS; Central Lakes College, MN; Redlands Community College, OK; Umpqua Community College, OH; South Plains College, TX; Northwest Wisconsin Technical College, and Sonoma State University, CA.
Emphasis will be placed on the current Viticulture and Enology Technology program offered at Surry Community College which includes courses in Vineyard Establishment and Development, Grape and Wine Science, Vineyard and Winery Operations, Grape Pests, Diseases, and Disorders, and Wine Finishing and Packaging. In addition, students enrolled in the Surry V & E program will be engaged with the national VESTA offerings, enhancing their knowledge of the industry-at-large and the 21st century challenges.
The main goals of the project are to produce highly qualified technicians that have industry validated credentials for the grape and wine production industry in the U.S. and to broaden the scope of activities that support professional development for students, faculty, entrepreneurs and the industry workforce.
In 2009, Surry Community College received a Department of Education, FIPSE grant, which enabled the college to develop online Viticulture and Enology courses. This development led to Surry’s opportunity to become a national leader in grape and wine industry training. For more information, go to www.ncviticulturecenter.com for Viticulture and Enology curriculum, links to the North Carolina grape and wine industry and the Shelton-Badgett NC Center for Viticulture and Enology.