HARRISBURG – HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, is expanding its Business, Hospitality and Tourism programs to include viticulture (grape growing).
“The college is responding to requests to add viticulture to the program line up after successfully introducing enology (wine making) a year ago,” said Linda Lefevre, HACC executive dean of academic affairs. “Students who enroll in either program will be able to earn an associate degree in applied science or a certificate in this rapidly growing industry.”
Robert Green, director of HACC’s Enology and Viticulture programs, added, “With our enology and viticulture programs, we’re trying to create a workforce that already has the skills required in today’s vineyards and wineries. HACC is filling a void for formal education in the industry.”
Green, a commercial winemaker and winery consultant for more than 20 years, continued, “Graduates of HACC’s viticulture and enology programs will have the necessary skills to help Pennsylvania’s wine industry to grow and will raise the quality of wine being produced in this region.”
Classes are delivered through online instruction and a blended format, which is a combination of online instruction and one or two weekend “camps” at vineyards and wineries in the region for required intensive hands-on experience. In addition, internships will be offered for workplace learning.
“These programs of study will definitely benefit our industry, which is growing by leaps and bounds,” said Bob Mazza of Mazza Vineyards in North East, Pa., and past president of the Pennsylvania Winery Association.
“Many of the personnel at our wineries are looking to take the courses offered to enhance or increase their knowledge of viticulture and enology,” said Jennifer Eckinger, executive director of the Pennsylvania Winery Association. “There is a need for further education in this growing field which was not available in our region prior to the HACC program.”
With about 14,000 acres of grapes grown and 230 wine grape growers, Pennsylvania is the fourth largest wine grape producer in the nation. The commonwealth also ranks seventh in the nation in the production of wine with 387,000 cases of wine produced annually. Since 2006, the number of licensed wineries has grown by nearly 40 percent from 104 to 140.