First Posted: 4/23/2009
DOBSON The long-awared ground breaking for the North Carolina Center for Viticulture and Enology at Surry Community College has finally been set.
The event is scheduled to take place on May 1 at 2 p.m. on the main campus in Dobson.
Announced attendees include the North Carolina Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton; Dr. Linwood Powell, vice chair of the NC State Board of Community Colleges; 92 House District Rep. Darrell McCormick; Joe Neely, chair of the NC Grape and Wine Council; and Amy Helton, chair of the NC Winegrowers Association.
The center will serve the grape and wine industry, not only in North Carolina, but the entire Southeast, providing workforce training and industry support.
The center will feature a teaching laboratory, state-of-the-art commercially bonded winery, special events hall, multi-use classrooms for a variety of curriculum and continuing education courses, resource library/conference room, instructor offices, and climate controlled wine storage. The 4,000 square-foot special events hall will enable the college to sponsor and host seminars, conventions and conferences.
This space will provide a new venue for community programming. The North Carolina Center for Viticulture and Enology is a $5 million complex which is funded through NC General Assembly appropriations, NC Community College System grants, NC State bonds, and private donations.
Surry began offering courses in viticulture in 1999 and offers a two-year degree in viticulture and enology. To-date, $3.2 million in grants and private contributions has been leveraged for student-centered demonstration projects, technical training, and services targeting improved and expanded vineyard and winery operations. Currently, students receive practical experience in a five acre vineyard and bonded winery on the college campus.
The NC Grape and Wine Council reports that the grape and wine industry contributes $813 million annually to the North Carolina economy and provides 5,700 jobs across the state.