The future is now when it comes to learning the the wine making business at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria.
With a theme of from “vine to wine”, the college’s popular Viticulture and Enology program now includes state-of-the-art wine making facilities right on campus.
The new addition to the AHC Viticulture and Enology Program is another example of how the 2006, $180 million voter-approved Measure I bond continues to transform the college with impressive new facilities.
They poured locally made wine as local VIP’s joined AHC administrators and staff for the grand unveiling of AHC’s wine making laboratory and winery on campus.
“Its fantastic where we are right now”, says AHC Viticulture and Enology student Jason Mergenov, “I’ve been in the program three years now and where we are when we started and where we are now is just night and day.”
The new Enology Lab includes a 1,500 square foot winery and 2,800 square feet of outside work space to house the program’s new equipment.
Its part of AHC’s $17.6 million Industrial Technology Complex on campus that was built with Measure I funds.
“8 years ago this was like a dream, now it’s a reality”, says Dr. Alfredo Koch, Director of the AHC Viticulture and Enology Department.
Students can now harvest wine grapes grown on the campus vineyard and experience the process of making wine from crush to barrel to bottle.
“We of course can show students how to grow the grapes, make the wine and also the wine business side of it”, Dr. Koch says, “its a very important industry here on the Central Coast.”
“Everything that Dr. Koch is doing to make a licensed winery and a bonded winery at AHC, with hopes that it will actually sell a commercial product next year, that puts us on the same level as Cal Poly who’s able to sell the wine that they make”, Jason Mergenov says, “that does put us on the map as an actual winemaker in Santa Barbara County.”
The Allan Hancock College Viticulture and Enology program enrolls hundreds of students every year from mainly the Central Coast area.
But its also generating an international reputation with students coming from as far away as Japan, Argentina and Croatia.
For more information about the AHC Viticulture and Enology program go to: http://www.hancockcollege.edu/academic_departments/life_physical-science/agribusiness/documents/CTE_AgBus_ViticultureBrochure.pdfSlideshow: Allan Hancock College Opens On-Campus Winery