Napa Valley College Breaks Ground on Ambitious New Wine Spectator Wine Education Center

Shovels went into the ground May 17 as Napa Valley College (NVC) celebrated the groundbreaking for the Wine Spectator Wine Education Center. Funded by a $10 million gift, the largest donation ever made by the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation, the center will dramatically expand and update the teaching facilities of NVC and its Viticulture and Winery Technology (VWT) program.

“The ample educational opportunities offered through the Wine Spectator Wine Education Center will allow students to build extensive wine-related skills through an assortment of educational programs and degrees, all designed to enhance their careers,” said Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of Wine Spectator. “I am thrilled to be able to support this vital need for both Napa Valley College and the wine industry.”

Dr. Torence Powell, the college’s president, called the groundbreaking a pivotal moment for the school. “We are here to celebrate this really impactful moment for our Viticulture [and] Winery Technology program for Napa Valley College, for the valley, and for the wine and hospitality industry.”

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Napa Valley College’s VWT offering is one of the largest wine technology college programs in the United States, serving more than 800 students annually. As a community college program, the focus is on a practical, hands-on approach and job placement. It serves a diverse group of students, such as those fresh out of high school, people in the wine industry who want to refresh their education, retirees and hobby winemakers. The student body includes a significant number of first-generation college students.

The campus sits adjacent to the Napa River, just south of downtown Napa, and includes a 5-acre vineyard and commercial winery, the first bonded winery in the California community college system. Degrees are offered in viticulture, winemaking and wine marketing and sales.

When the Wine Spectator Wine Education Center is complete, it will more than double the program’s classroom and training space, with 10,000 square feet of state-of-the-art learning space. The center will include two flexible sensory classrooms with seating for up to 80 students at a time and a laboratory classroom with 28 lab stations.

[article-img-container][src=2024-05/ns_napavalleycollege-groundbreaking-rendering-052024_1600.jpg] [credit= (Israel Valencia/Infinity Visuals)] [alt= An artist’s rendering of the planned Wine Spectator Wine Education Center.][end: article-img-container]

“Thanks to Wine Spectator, students will learn in a world-class facility,” said Powell. “We have strong job placement, with more than 80 percent hiring rates for our program. So once students go through the program, they move on directly to new jobs and up the ladder into higher management positions within the organizations they work in.”

Oscar Navarro has seen NVC’s impact firsthand. He graduated from the VWT program and is now the assistant winery manager of the program’s teaching winery. “Thank God for this program and for this donation,” he told the assembled crowd. “Because stories like mine are just waiting to break open. To let the opportunities just flood in for many of us is truly a blessing. And all that is due to this amazing donation that we are all going to benefit from.”

Congressman Mike Thompson, who represents the congressional district that includes Napa County, spoke via video, pointing out that he is also…

Source : https://www.winespectator.com/articles/napa-college-breaks-ground-on-wine-spectator-wine-education-center