Grape and wine classes available at the click of a mouse

Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA) makes on-line grape and wine-making courses available to a growing industry.

Many people are interested in Michigan’s expanding grape and wine industry, but they lack the knowledge or skills to get started. The Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA) provides easy educational access to basic and advanced resources for new and established grape growers or wine makers.

VESTA, a National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence, in partnership with the Michigan State University Institute of Agriculture Technology and colleges and universities throughout the Midwest offer online credit courses, workshops and mentoring to people looking to enter the grape industry, or to further their skills through professional development. Participants may seek a VESTA certificate, a community college associates degree, or a Michigan State University Institute of Agriculture Certificate in Viticulture through its off-campus programs in southwest and northwest Michigan. 

Bob Utter, an entrepreneur from Adrian, Mich., and MSU Product Center client, credits VESTA’s online courses, and workshops taught by world-renown experts with broadening his experience and saving him from lots of trial-and-error as a grape grower and wine maker. For example, the insect and deer challenges of his first year of growing grapes lead him to a VESTA integrated pest management course. Since then, Utter had taken advantage of VESTA’s increasing offerings including hands-on workshops.

“VESTA courses gave me the confidence to start my own vineyard and winery,” Bob said. This year, the Utter family venture, Flying Otter Winery, will produce its first wines.

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