JCC Students Break Ground on Instructional Vineyard

Jefferson Community College (JCC) students in the winery management & marketing program broke ground on May 14 on the College’s new vineyard teaching site.  This venture, a first in Northern New York, represents a partnership between the College and Black River Agricultural Research Site LLC.  The one-acre vineyard, planted with approximately 175 vines, will serve as an experimental and instructional site for Jefferson’s winery management and marketing program.

As an instructional site, JCC students will receive hands-on experience in vineyard management. “Northern New York’s unique climate is ideal for growing the newly developed cold-hardy varieties developed by the University of Minnesota that can withstand temperatures that can drop into the -30’s; such as Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Blanc, Marquette and La Crescent,” said Julie Hosbach, JCC’s winery program coordinator.  “These recently introduced grape varieties not only thrive in cold weather, but they are also winning acceptance throughout the wine world as demonstrated by their dramatic growth in sales and award-winning performances in wine competitions.”

Students in the program will experience the phases of cultivation as well as overall vineyard management of these new varieties.   The initial planting consisted of approximately 175 vines of Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Blanc, Marquette and La Crescent varieties, which will take a couple of years to grow and produce fruit.   When fruit production reaches normal crop levels, enology students will be able to harvest the grapes and use the juice for winemaking.  “This vineyard represents an exciting new phase for our winery management & marketing program and I am delighted Jefferson students will have this opportunity for more hands-on learning,” said Hosbach.   

The winery management and marketing certificate program at JCC, established in August 2012, provides learning opportunities for students wishing to pursue a career in the diverse northern New York wine industry from viticulture to winemaking to retail management.   In addition to the one-year certificate program, students may also choose to pursue an associate in applied science (A.A.S) degree in hospitality and tourism with a concentration in winery management and marketing.  There are five courses specific to the winery management and marketing concentration and include Introduction to Winery Operations, Winery Management and Marketing, Wine Appreciation and Selection, Viticulture and Enology. Students are also encouraged to participate in an internship with a local winery as part of their course requirements.

Fall classes at Jefferson Community College begin August 25, 2014.  For more information on JCC’s winery management and marketing programs, visit www.sunyjefferson.edu or contact Julie Purpura Hosbach at (315)786-2348.

Caption: Jefferson Community College students prepare to plant cold-hardy grapes in a new vineyard that will be used for instructional purposes in Jefferson’s winery management and marketing program.

Front (kneeling): Jaclyn P. Coyle, Watertown.

First Row L-R: Patrick Leibacher, Evans Mills; Heather D. Fargo, Carthage; Melissa A. Weber, Fort Drum; Tory L. Cooley, Clayton;  Julie Purpura Hosbach (center), JCC instructor and winery program coordinator; Bonnie M. Schmid, Fabius;  Jennifer L. Fraser, Carthage.

Back Row L-R: Shawn M. Bush, Evans Mills;  Connor G. Crill, Lowville;  Robert C. Hunt, Three Mile Bay; Katelyn M. Dawley, Carthage.