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CASNR prof leads new Texas viticulture certification class to graduation

CASNR prof leads new Texas viticulture certification class to graduation

Texas Tech is celebrating its third graduating class to receive professional certificates from the Texas Viticulture Certification Program. Graduates were recognized at a ceremony in Fredericksburg’s Texas Hill Country University Center, the new home of the growing viticulture and enology program.

This year’s 30 graduates from Texas, Colorado and Mexico completed the six-course program within a two-year period, and received 17 Continuing Education Unit credits. Coursework ranged from grapevine biology to disease, insect and weed management.

“The demographics of this group largely comprise well-educated successful professionals from other disciplines seeking a college-level education in viticulture without re-enrolling at a university,” said Ed Hellman, a professor of viticulture at Texas Tech and director of the certificate program recently relocated to the Fredericksburg campus.

Hellman noted that not only is the Viticulture Certificate Program officially headquartered at the center, they’re now developing a companion Winemaking Certificate Program.

“There’s tremendous growth of the wine industry in the Texas Hill Country, much of it centered around Fredericksburg,” he said. “The ability to have the land to establish a teaching vineyard at the Hill Country University Center made it the perfect location.”

The Texas Viticulture Certification Program began in 2007 as a collaboration between Texas Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Science and Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension, Hellman said. It provides educational training in commercial grape production to entrepreneurs wanting to enter the Texas wine industry. Since then, 59 certificates have been awarded to students.

“The program’s design has proven quite successful with enrollment steadily increasing to capacity in the 2013 class,” Hellman said. “Many of our graduates go on to establish their own vineyards and wineries or work for already established ones.”

Written by Norman Martin

Reporting by Grace Acuna

CONTACT: Richard Zartman, Department Chair and Leidigh Professor of Soil Physics, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2838 or richard.zartman@ttu.edu

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