Napa school sells wine made by students


At the Vintners Teaching Winery, students learn it all. The result is the school's first release for sale to the public -- sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir and a rose.

"I think it really changes the nature of the program when the wine is for sale, I think it gives students the experience of working in a real winery," assistant wine maker Greg Siewert said.

The 25-year-old program is a perfect fit in the Napa Valley; and now Napa Valley College is the first community college in the state with a bonded winery, meaning they can sell the fruits of their studies.

Eighty percent of the students in the program are in the wine business, and they are motivated to learn.

"A lot of them have advance degrees or something, Napa Valley and the wine business is a real magnet for people, they come here they want to do a second career," program coordinator Stephen Krebs said.

"I have a vineyard management company with my father and this is a way to learn about the vineyards," student Lauren Pesch said.

Students learn more than theory, they get their hands dirty in the actual wine-making process.

"I love the fact you get lots of hands on experience here, I think it's invaluable to be able to come into a winery and actually do what you are learning about, it makes all the difference in the world," student Niki Williams said.

The students at Napa Valley College must be doing something right. In a blind tasting with other valley wineries, their sauvignon blanc was voted first and the chardonnay tied for first.

Those hoping to buy some of the wine are out of luck, it has already sold out. But never fear, there will be new releases in the spring.

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