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Town helps college build winery
Written by {ga=staff-reporter}   
Friday, 26 August 2011 00:00

Yavapai College recently announced plans to create a Southwest Wine Center on its Clarkdale campus to offer high-quality viticulture and ecology educational programs, a full production teaching winery and a 20- to 30-acre vineyard.

By unanimous vote, Clarkdale Town Council agreed Aug. 16 to help establish the winery by jointly exploring possible water sources, alternative sites for additional supply chain producers, like barrel and bottle makers, and analyzing water data.

Tom Schumacher, Yavapai College’s executive dean for the Clarkdale and Sedona campuses, talks Friday, Aug. 19, about the burgeoning future of the viticulture program on the Clarkdale campus. Classes for the first viticulture one-year certificate program began Monday, Aug. 22.The center will be the only one of its kind in the Southwest, Clarkdale Sustainability Park Project Manager Jodie Filardo told council.

“Not only is this to be an academic winery fostering regional economic and work force development, but it also aims to be the preeminent repository of low-water use research and data in the world,” Filardo said.

“We anticipate this project will be a demonstration of best practices in efficient water management through the wine industry,” Mayor Doug Von Gausig wrote in a letter to Yavapai College President Penelope Wills.

The project supports Clarkdale’s comprehensive economic development strategy, Von Gausig wrote.

Grapes are a low-water-use crop well suited to Yavapai County’s high desert climate, but Clarkdale wants to work with the college to minimize water usage even further, he wrote.

“Clarkdale believes as the wine industry in Yavapai County grows, significant economic impact will be experienced across numerous sectors of the community,” Von Gausig wrote.

The industry is expected to produce additional employment opportunities at both wineries and at businesses that tend to support winemaking. More jobs should be created in both the tourist and hospitality sectors as well, Filardo said.

The viticulture program at Yavapai College currently offers classes in growing grapes for wine. Initially, a one-year certificate program is being offered with a two-year associate degree expected in 2012.

Short-term wine experience courses are offered as well as semester-length courses. These include hands-on classes both in classrooms and at campus vineyards.

Students learn about the seasonal operations that occur at different times in the vineyard and how grape-growing practices influence wine quality.

For more information, call (928) 717-7725.


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