Wineries are booming in Minnesota, from 26 in 2007 to 47 in 2012, and also in the Upper Midwest. See the latest info (pdf). This is mainly due to cold hardy grapes developed by the University of Minnesota that can thrive not only in our region, but also other parts of the world such as Russia, China and Northern Europe. The VESTA (Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance) program offers online classes taught by industry leaders.
Students gain hands-on practical experiences through mentoring with local Vineyards and Wineries. It is a partnership of Universities, Two year Colleges, State Agricultural Agencies, Vineyards and Wineries in 19 States. Visit www.vesta-usa.org for more details.
Central Lakes College can help students with financial assistance (+Scholarships!), general education courses, and local mentors.
Dennis Emslie Drummond
Dennis Emslie Drummond is the Coordinator for VESTA in Minnesota, and teaches VITI 1147 Fruit Wine Production. He has a masters in Enology (Wine Chemistry) from U.C. Davis and has worked in Napa, Sonoma, Michigan, New Zealand, Australia, Wisconsin, and Minnesota wineries and vineyards. He directed the planting of an experimental vineyard at the Staples Ag Center and established a laboratory and experimental winery at the Staples CLC campus. His Minnesotan wife, Jody, and he enjoy living by Lower South Long Lake, where their bird feeders are causing an explosion in the squirrel population.
Email Dennis for more information
Wine maker at Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria. Current student.
The courses really helped me tie in all my experiences with all the details it takes to produce quality wines. The best part was that I could work full time and still have time for classes, since it's all online.
Fort Ripley and current student in Viticulture AAS.
Awarded two scholarships.
In the viticulture program, I not only receive classroom instruction, but also hands on learning with an experienced vineyard. Dennis Emslie Drummond and all of the schools involved have been great to work with. The VESTA program has been and is a wonderful experience.