E. Oregon school has viticulture class now

ONTARIO — Treasure Valley Community College will offer classes in viticulture — the growing of wine grapes — for people interested in an industry on the rise in Eastern Oregon.

The program will focus mostly on vineyard management, said Susan Tinker, dean of instruction. Classes will include general soils and introduction to plant growth, which will be taught on the Ontario campus, and an introduction to the wine industry, offered at the Caldwell, Idaho, campus.

The two-year degree is designed to prepare students for jobs in the table-wine and wine-grape industry. In proposing the program, Roger Findley, chairman of the agriculture department, said college officials worked with winemakers and grape producers from the Snake River Valley.

They found acreage devoted to grape production had doubled from 2000 to 2005, and the number of wineries in the region had increased from 10 to 19.

At present, no community college or university in the region offers courses specific to viticulture, Findley said.

In the viticulture class, there may be opportunities to transfer to Oregon State University's viticulture program or related programs at the University of Idaho and Washington State University.

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