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Expect More Arizona Tour of Excellence: Yavapai College provides students with hand-on experience in Arizona’s thriving wine industry


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  • Nikki Bagley/ Yavapai College

Arizona’s Wine Industry Is Pouring Millions Of Dollars Into The State’s Economy Providing A Tremendous Boost To Local Hotels, Restaurants, Shops, Tour Operators And Other Businesses. As The Only College In The Southwest Offering Degree Programs In Viticulture And Enology, Yavapai College Is A Centerpiece For Teaching And Learning Programs For The Region’s Wine Industry. Photo Courtesy Yavapai College

Arizona’s wine industry is pouring millions of dollars into the state’s economy providing a tremendous boost to local hotels, restaurants, shops, tour operators and other businesses. As the only college in the southwest offering degree programs in Viticulture and Enology, Yavapai College is a centerpiece for teaching and learning programs for the region’s wine industry.

Yavapai College offers a Viticulture and Enology program where students work side-by-side with professionals in their industry while earning their certificate or degree. The program equips students with a solid academic foundation, alongside a variety of hands-on experiences that prepares the students to step right into a career in the rapidly growing Arizona wine industry, or any other winery in the nation.

Video by Yavapai College: Yavapai College Viticulture & Enology Programs

The Viticulture Certificate and the Viticulture and Enology Associates Degree are integrated with field/cellar-based practicums that demonstrate sound practices at the Yavapai College Estate Vineyards and Cellars. Students get their foot in the door with local vineyards and wineries by spending half of their required practicum hours with other wine industry professionals.

Yavapai College emphasizes workforce development. The college’s Enology program provides more than just lectures. The program is run under a functioning business model with students taking part in every step. Planting up to 20 acres on site, the program offers students a variety of experiences in vineyard installation, vineyard management, and winery design and construction. This also provides the unique opportunity to see the correlation between vineyard management practices and wine quality.

In the years to come, the college’s Southwest Wine Center plans to grow 100 percent of its own wine in a state-of-the-art, on-campus winery. A tasting room also run by student workers provides the last step in the process. Students are learning to analyze, market and sell wine to the public.

Yavapai College is a two-year community college located in Yavapai County. The main campus is in Prescott, with locations in Clarkdale, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley and Sedona. The average enrollment total at Yavapai College for the 2016-2017 fall and spring semesters was approximately 7,200 students. Of those students, about 100 take Viticulture/Enology courses.

The college offers dozens of degree and certificate programs, and transfer options to students in over 70 different programs of study. In addition to traditional curriculum, the college offers many learning options to fit the lifestyles/circumstances of its students.

Programs like these at Yavapai College are helping to increase the number of Arizona residents that have completed a two- or four-year degree or received a postsecondary certificate, as well as keeping graduates in their community with viable employment options. If we can increase attainment in Arizona to 60 percent, as outlined by the Arizona Education Progress Meter, it would bring more than $3.5 billion in personal income and tax revenue into the state annually.