Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
04.09.2008  
 

Grant Funds Illinois Viticulture/Enology Program

Online classes offer certificates and degrees to support Midwest industry

 
by Jane Firstenfeld
 
 
Grant Funds Illinois Viticulture/Enology Program
 
Rachel Cristaudo, (left) did many jobs at Pomona Winery, including washing strawberries for fruit wine, before joining Rend Lake College as project coordinator for its new VESTA online viticulture and enology program.
 
Ina, Ill. -- A half-million dollar grant funded by the National Science Foundation is helping to establish viticulture and enology programs at Rend Lake College in Southern Illinois. Rachel Cristaudo, former winery manager and administrative assistant for the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, has been appointed project coordinator. Cristaudo will be working with Steve Holman, a professor of biology who is the program's senior personnel at the school. The $500,000 grant began last year, when Holman began getting state approvals for the new associate degrees. Certificates in the two specialties will require about 30 credit hours each, with no general education or prerequisite classes.

These are especially appealing, Holman told Wines & Vines, to nontraditional students: retirees, entrepreneurial types and those who have some exposure to the wine industry but need practical education prior to leaping into planting vineyards or opening a winery of their own.

Rend Lake is the most recent Midwestern community college to sign on with the Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA) Regional Center of Excellence, which offers certifications and associate of applied science degrees in grapegrowing and winemaking through online courses. VESTA is headquartered at Missouri State University in Springfield. Northeast Iowa Community College, with campuses in Calmar and Peosta; and Redlands Community College in El Reno, Okla., are also part of the VESTA program, which was inaugurated four years ago. During that period, the participating colleges have provided online education for some 275 students in almost 30 states, according to Holman. Vesta issues certificates at Missouri State, while degrees are awarded through the participating schools.

Although the courses are taught online, Holman already has lined up practicum sites at nearby vineyards and wineries, to provide hands-on experience throughout the year. "The practicums are built into the online courses," Holman said. "They've been very successful."

Cristaudo started her new job April 1, and her first and most important duty is recruitment of students for the new program. With a master's degree in English as a second language, which she has taught; three years of working in various capacities including manager at Pomona Winery in nearby Pomona, Ill., and her acquaintance with Southern Illinois growers and winemakers along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, she felt the VESTA position would be a great fit, utilizing both her educational and winery experience.

She and Holman are especially excited about the prospect of establishing a dual-credit program allowing local high school students to earn certificates in grapegrowing--"not winemaking," Holman emphasized. "Nor will they be tasting any wine."

"Some other things we want to work on are establishing advisory committees from within the grape and wine industry," Cristaudo said. "We want them to tell us what kind of courses they want to see us offer and what kind of education potential employees need. We want to identify partner wineries and vineyards throughout the state for field work and internships." Although VESTA courses are taught online, Cristaudo pointed out that they are tailored to the seasonal activities of the industry.

Cristaudo believes that offering these programs through community colleges provides an advantage, even for online learners. "In a smaller setting, you can have more one-on-one contact."

Holman said that plans are under way to expand the VESTA program to as many as a dozen other neighboring states. Funding for the Rend Lake grant will expire in about three years, by which time, Cristaudo said, the college hopes to have enrolled around 200 students in the program.

As in other U.S. winegrowing regions, skilled labor is in increasing demand, and it's harder to come by. In the Midwest, programs like this can help people from traditional local agriculture backgrounds transition to a fast-growing and potentially more profitable agricultural endeavor--and encourage those from more urban settings to see the benefits and learn the realities of growing grapes and making wine.

Credits earned in the VESTA program can be transferred to four-year institutions. "We want to be able to help our students to find jobs," Cristaudo concluded.

To learn more about Rend Lake College, visit rlc.edu. For a complete list of courses, schedules, applications and job vacancies, visit vesta-usa.org.
SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
April 2015 $627 million
5%
$8,028 million
5%
April 2014 $595 million $7,623 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
April 2015 $184 million
17%
$1,890 million
15%
April 2014 $157 million $1,649 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
April 2015 406
34%
252
19%
April 2014 302 212
     
 
MORE » Released on 05.15.2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • May 26
     
    Mendocino Economic Summit
     
  • May 28-29
     
    Direct2015
     
  • May 28-30
     
    WIneMaker Annual Conference
     
  • May 28-30
     
    International Chardonnay Symposium
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: $10 Wine Would Cost $40-plus Under COOL »
 
As a Napa Valley producer, we have spent 30 years building our brands in the...
Reader: Pete Przybylinski
 
Article: Be a Sustainable Wine Ambassador »
 
A great idea. All TR employees at every responsible estate should be encouraged/required to become...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Historic Napa Winery Standing Tall Again »
 
It would be nice to know that Trost Jacking and Heavy Moving is the structural...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Women for WineSense offering scholarships »
 
This is fantastic! Women in Wine Education must find ways to continue their individual pursuit...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Historic Napa Winery Standing Tall Again »
 
Very Interesting, I'm so glad the building is successfully being saved.
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Tasting Room Associate
 St. Helena, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Regional Sales Manager
 Sf/Bay Area, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Epicure By Jcb Manager
 Yountville, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Retail Sales
 Sonoma, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Marketing & Social Med...
 Sonoma, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Market Manager
 Various, NA
Sales and Marketing
 Region Sales Manager-M...
 Minneapolis, MN
Sales and Marketing
 Chain Account Speciali...
 Seattle, WA
Sales and Marketing
 Area Sales Manager In ...
 Atlanta, GA
Sales and Marketing
 Sales Representative
 Manhattan, NY
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.