CLC Viticulture Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA) students Christy Paulson and Luke Sombke were awarded the Elmer Swenson Scholarship at the Cold Climate Conference at the Grand Awards Banquet in St. Paul. This is the second year Christy received the award. Minnesota Grape Growers Association award of $1,000 is for full time students in Viticulture (grape growing) and Enology (wine chemistry).
Christy and husband Matt, a CLC horticulture student, have an organic farm, "Fruits, Nuts and Vegetables"LLC, in Fort Ripley. They are clearing a two acre plot for a vineyard, and are using the trees to grow organic mushrooms with great success.
Luke is double majoring in Viticulture and Enology, and works at Danzinger Vineyards in Alma, WI. Danzinger Vineyards recently received best winery honors at the Wisconsin Grape Growers conference.
Milners Heritage Winery in Kimball, MN, won the Governors Cup Best of show for a La Crescent "Little Iza" white wine. Jon Milner is a former VESTA student and Sydney Giither, VESTA Viticulture graduate, is part of their team.
VESTA is an consortium of colleges in 19 states that offer online classes in Viticulture, Enology and wine business. Dennis Emslie Drummond is the Minnesota coordinator at Central Lakes College and is also the instructor for Fruit Wine Production. He manages a vineyard with 32 varieties at the Staples Ag Center, plus an experimental winery and laboratory at the Staples Campus. He will be presenting "Growing Grapes in Central Minnesota" at the Master Gardeners Expo on April 5th at the Brainerd campus of Central Lakes College.
(Photo: CLC Instructor Dennis Emslie Drummond, Student Luke Sombke, and CLC Dean Christopher Hadfield)