This story was first published in the Davis College NewsCenter. See the original article here.
Next fall the Texas' rapidly growing grape and wine industry will have a new group of trained professionals in the pipeline, thanks to a program known as the 'Texas Tech Viticulture Certificate Program.' But before anyone can even gaze on a grape, they'll need to apply to the program.
"We'll have a new cohort of students for the Texas Tech Viticulture Program in the fall, so it's time for potential students to start thinking about getting their applications completed," said Ed Hellman, a professor of viticulture and enology at Texas Tech University-Fredericksburg. The application period runs from June 1 to July 31, and the program is expected to begin in mid-September.
The viticulture certificate program is designed for wine industry entrepreneurs and prospective vineyard managers seeking comprehensive knowledge of viticulture principles and commercial grape production practices, he said. Produced by Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science, it's headquartered at the Hill Country University Center in Fredericksburg.
"The program is delivered through a combination of online courses and hands-on training in our own teaching vineyard," Hellman said. It consists of six courses, held over a two-year period. Successful completion of all six courses is required to receive a Professional Certificate in Viticulture. The program is limited to 40 participants who are willing to make the commitment to move through all courses over the two-year period. Enrollment in individual courses is not available.
Online courses include grapevine biology; site assessment and vineyard development; vine nutrition and water management; canopy management and crop load management; and disease, insect and weed management. The in-person portion includes four hands-on vineyard sessions. Cost of the two-year program is $3,400.