August 6, 2013
The Texas Hill Country University Center in Fredericksburg is the new home of the Texas Viticulture Certification Program. (click to enlarge)
Texas Tech University recently celebrated the third graduating class to receive professional certificates from Texas Viticulture Certification Program. The graduates were recognized at a ceremony at the Texas Hill Country University Center in Fredericksburg, which will be the new home of the viticulture program.
“There is tremendous growth of the wine industry in the Texas Hill Country, much of it centered around Fredericksburg,” said Ed Hellman, a professor of viticulture at Texas Tech’s and director of the certificate program recently relocated to the Fredericksburg campus. “The ability to have the land to establish a teaching vineyard at the Hill Country University Center made it the perfect location.”
The program began in 2007 as a collaboration between Texas Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Science and Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension and provides educational training in commercial grape production to entrepreneurs wanting to enter 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.”
Texas Tech’s Texas Viticulture Certification Program celebrates third graduating class.
This year’s 30 graduates, from Texas, Colorado and Mexico, completed the six-course program within a two-year period. The coursework ranges 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,” Hellman said. “We wanted to offer the coursework that fit their availability so we established a comprehensive curriculum delivered in a combination of online and face-to-face classes.”
Not only is the Viticulture Certificate Program is now officially headquartered at the center, Hellman also said now they are developing a companion Winemaking Certificate Program.
“The Hill Country University Center is ideally located for our students and has superb teaching facilities,” Hellman said. “This will enhance our educational programs for both the wine industry entrepreneurs and undergraduate students seeking a career in the wine business.”