May 16, 2011
The certification program was designed for people with a serious interest in commercial grape production or professional work in the viticulture industry.
Next fall the state's thriving grape and wine industry will have a new group of trained professionals, thanks to an innovative program known as the Texas 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 Viticulture Certificate 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 extension specialist with Texas AgriLife Extension and Texas Tech.
The application period runs from June 1-30, and the program begins Sept. 15.
A collaboration between Texas Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science and Texas AgriLife Extension, the certification program was designed for people with a serious interest in commercial grape production or professional work in the viticulture industry, said Hellman, who also serves as the program's director. Students must successfully complete six program courses – five online and one practical –within a two-year period to receive professional certification.
Operating a commercial vineyard is a time-consuming and capital-intensive venture, so the people going through the program must be committed to that goal, he said. Participants are required to complete a "Prospective Winegrower Workshop" through AgriLife Extension or other academic viticulture coursework as a prerequisite. One opportunity remains before the certificate program application deadline in Lubbock on June 17.
The curriculum includes grapevine biology, site assessment and vineyard development, and vine nutrition and water management. The remaining courses are canopy management and crop load management; disease, insect and weed management; and hands‐on vineyard practices.
The program's cost is $3,000, and the class size is limited to 40 participants, Hellman said.
Instructors for the viticulture certificate program are:
The mission of the Department of Plant & Soil Science is to improve plants for human use, increase knowledge about our environment, and enhance sustainable practices in plant production and value-added processing through education, research, and outreach.
The department is a comprehensive academic department conducting research and offering coursework and academic programs in all areas of the plant and soil sciences.Facebook