Viticulture A.A.S. Degree

Why Choose Viticulture A.A.S. Degree at CLC?

Online evening classes in Grape growing, wine making and wine business.

One year certificates or AAS degrees available.

Scholarships available through the Minnesota Grape Growers Association.

Financial aid available through Central Lakes College.

Taught by industry experts with years of experience from around the world and through 19 state colleges.

Assistance in finding internships in the Minnesota wine industry (71 wineries and counting!) by the CLC VESTA Coordinator.​​

About the Program

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 for more details. Central Lakes College can help students with financial assistance (+Scholarships!), general education courses, and local mentors.

Program Information

Program Course Requirements

Program Course Requirements

First Year – Fall Semester
BIOL 1431 General Biology I (5 cr)
COMP 1101 Computer Fundamentals (3 cr)
MATH 1506 Beginning College Algebra (4 cr)
VITI 1111 Introduction to Viticulture and Vineyard Establishment (3 cr)
Total – 15 Credits

Spring Semester
CHEM 1414 Fundamentals of Chemistry (4 cr)
ENGL 1410 Composition I (4 cr)
SPCH 1431 Fundamentals of Public Speaking (3 cr)
VITI 1113* Winter Viticulture Technology (2 cr)
VITI 1293 Soils for Viticulture (3 cr)
Total – 16 Credits

Summer Semester
VITI 1115* Summer/Fall Viticulture Technology (2 cr)
Total – 2 Credits

Second Year – Fall Semester
BIOL 1134 General Botany (4 cr)
MATH 1460 Intro to Statistics (4 cr)
VITI 1190 Viticulture Safety (1 cr)
VITI 1211 Integrated Pest Management (2 cr)
VITI 1213* Midwest Vineyard Management (2 cr)
Total – 13 Credits

Spring Semester

AGR 157 Principles of Agriculture Mechanization (3 cr)
BUSN 116 Business Communication (3 cr)
POLS 1435 American Government and Politics (3 cr)
VITI 1114* Spring Viticulture Technology (2 cr)
Elective (3 cr)
Total – 14 Credits

*Denotes Prerequisites

Detailed Program Information

Career Description: Vineyard managers oversee the growing and care of grapes. They develop a system of grape management that is appropriate for each vineyard. They decide how to manage planting, fertility, harvesting and pruning. They are heavily involved in varietal selection, site preparation, equipment maintenance and safety, first season establishment, vine growth development, trellis systems and pruning. They also are involved in pest management, soil quality and the overall impact on the environment.

Program Information: The Viticulture Technology program provides a comprehensive examination of the field of viticulture (grape growing). The program provides the knowledge required to maintain vineyards in Minnesota and the Midwest, with specific attention given to varietal selection, soil preparation, pest management and marketing, as well as the science, agriculture and business skills necessary to succeed in Minnesota’s rapidly growing viticulture business. The program includes fieldwork and practicums at local vineyards.

Special Program Requirements:

Career Opportunities: Job opportunities in vineyard management are tied to trends in grape production. Growing grapes in Minnesota is becoming increasingly popular. Statistics from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture show an increase in both the number of farms growing grapes and the total acreage. Employment opportunities are available locally, regionally and nationwide.

Program Outcomes

Program Outcomes:
Graduates will be able to:

  • Manage all part-time and seasonal vineyard workers;
  • Maintain records of all vineyard operation activities;
  • Assist wine maker in crop load management, harvest coordination and execution;
  • Monitor the vineyard regarding nutrient status, grape diseases, insect, fungus, weeds, and other pests;
  • Maintain records of all viticultural monitoring activities;
  • Practice IPM (Integrated Pest Management);
  • Recommend and plan any large scale changes in vineyard plantings, specifically cultivars and selection of the site;
  • Plan and assist in irrigation scheduling and operation;
  • Plan and assist in general property maintenance;
  • Operate vineyard machinery safely.

Transfer Opportunities

Transfer Opportunities: Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA) is a consortium of colleges, including Central Lakes College, Northeast Iowa Community College, Missouri State University, and Rend Lake (Ill.) Community College, and Redlands (Okla) Community College.


dennisDennis 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

Student Testimonials

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.

Vineyard assistant, Mapleton. Current student in Viticulture and Wine making. Vesta is a great program, you are able to work full time while you do classes online. Practicums are required for the viticulture and enology main courses, which is great to get hands on experience! The Vesta coordinators and professors are great to work with! It was nice to get help in getting the scholarship, too!

Employment Statistics

For more information regarding employment statistics, career salary information and estimated job growth, follow the resource links below: