Wine symposium returns to Surry Community College

David Broyles Staff Reporter

November 6, 2013

DOBSON — Surry Community Colleges is readying itself for its second annual Southeastern Grape and Wine Symposium held in partnership with The Viticulture Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA).

The event is set to begin this morning and will conclude Thursday.

“The response to our first symposium was very good,” said Enology Instructor David Bower. “This time around we are concentrating more on wine quality and growing better grapes. This symposium is not only for those in North Carolina. It’s for the entire Southeast. We have people attending who came from states like Florida, Alabama, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. There are people from all over.”

Bower said many of the subjects this year focus on making better wines where last year’s event concentrated more on marketing. He said the symposium will continue to feature educational workshops and seminars from what he called some of the most distinguished viticulture and enology professionals on the East Coast. VESTA is a partnership of 19 colleges and universities nationwide with a goal of delivering groundbreaking distance education opportunities for the grape and wine industry.

“We are excited to have this symposium at Surry in partnership with VESTA and all of our sponsors,” Bower said. “We hope everybody enjoys themselves and has fun learning.”

The introductory session today is set for 8:30 a.m. with registration at 8:15 a.m. in the Shelton-Badgett NC Center for Viticulture Grand Hall.

Dr. David Shockley, college president, is scheduled to speak as well as Dr. Jami Woods, vice president, curriculum programs. Bower is also slated to speak at this time.

The 9 a.m. lecture topic is Uniting the Industry Workforce: Developing Standardized Workplace Competencies for the Grape and Wine Industry. It will be given by Michelle Norgren, director, Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA) National Center of Excellence. Peter Bell, from Fox Run Vineyards of New York, will speak at 10 am. on maximizing aromatic white wines.

The 11 a.m. topic is “In the Vineyard, What is a Vintage?” and will be delivered by Dr. Sara Spayd, professor, N.C. State University. Sabrina Lueck, Walla Walla Community College, Walla Walla, Wash., kicks off the afternoon session at 1:45 p.m. with a lecture on white wine making’s critical control points with tasting.

Day one is set to conclude on the patio of the Grand Hall as the sun sets for a wine tasting and food pairing with local cheeses, soups, breads, fruits, vegetables, chocolates and truffles. Wineries from the Southeastern Region will be represented for tastings.

Thursday’s first presentation at 8:15 a.m. is “Small Wineries in the South West of France Faced with New World Competition with Tasting” by Dr. Michèle Ambaye, ESC PAU, France. A “Lunch-n-Learn” is also set for Thursday. The event’s goals include teaching participants why red wine is paired with steak and chocolate and white wine with fish and chicken. This event is included in the cost of registration and will feature local wines. The menu includes pan seared grouper with bananas foster.

Afternoon topics include a 3:15 p.m. lecture titled “You Are What You Drink — Water from a Vine’s Perspective.” The speaker will be Dr. Krista Shellie, research horticulturist, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Services. The last scheduled lecture on Thursday is on the design and potential economic impact of a strong college wine program. Lueck and Bower will serve as speakers for this presentation.

More information on the symposium can be obtained at or Bower at 336-386-3569 or Ashley Myers at 336-386-3510.

Reach David Broyles at or 336-719-1952.