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VESTA | Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance


Viticulture and Enology
Science and Technology Alliance
Springfield, MO

Michelle Norgren
Principal Investigator (PI)
(417) 837-2513
A vineyard manager harvests Chambourcin grapes in Kansas.

VESTA has 437 field sites where students apply the knowledge gained in online courses and develop critical hands-on skills.

VESTA’S Unique Program Grows

VESTA continues to attract students with its combination of instructor-guided online instruction and face-to-face lessons by industry professionals at vineyards or wineries.

In 2014-15, VESTA’s online course enrollment reached 729, a 135% increase since 2009. Almost two-thirds of the students were pursuing certificates or degrees; 40% were women.

Credentials awarded to VESTA students between 2011 and 2015 included 145 viticulture and 35 enology certificates, as well as 26 AAS degrees in viticulture and 43 in enology.

VESTA increased its wine business entrepreneurship courses to six in 2015 and plans to add eight more courses in 2016.

VESTA Cultivates Grape & Wine Industry Workforce

VESTA influences the grape and wine industry in a multitude of ways. This impact is evidenced by student success stories that include people who are currently working in the industry and are sponsored by their employers; individuals who have advanced their careers in the industry after completing VESTA courses; and entrepreneurs who have established commercial vineyards and wineries after obtaining technical certificates or degrees. Successful VESTA entrepreneurs have also hired students who are enrolled in the VESTA program.

Collaboration with employers, academic institutions, extension agents, and current or former students is enabling VESTA to identify and develop occupational competencies for 32 distinct jobs in the industry. These standardized competencies will enable owners or operators to refine hiring and promotion practices; employees and students to focus their educational pursuits; and educators to develop and refine viticulture and enology educational programs.

VESTA is increasing its visibility and impact as it partners with regional and national industry conferences to provide professional development workshops. More than 200 people participated in these programs in 2014-2015.