SW Wine Center could be reality by fall 2014

CLARKDALE - When completed, the Southwest Wine Center on the Clarkdale Campus of Yavapai College will be a state-of-the art teaching winery.

A new brochure produced by the Yavapai College Foundation states that, "A 15-20 acre vineyard, planted in the foothills of Mingus Mountain on Yavapai College's Verde Valley campus, will provide students with hands-on, scientific experience in vineyard establishment and management including, plant science, water management, vine selection, land preparation and planting and harvesting the grapes."

In addition, students will learn about producing wine. The winery will have both production areas and barrel and case storage that will produce 3,000 cases of Yavapai College-labeled wine per year.

Then students will learn about the marketing and business part of running a winery.

The winery will be complete with a tasting room and patio.

The Yavapai College Foundation will run the wine sales and tasting operations.

The winery will be a natural expansion of the college's academic programs in the wine industry. The Verde Valley campus already offers a one-year certificate in Viticulture, and an Associate of Applied Science in Viticulture and Enology has been started with the current semester.

Fund raising is well underway.

"We have raised nearly $1 million toward our $3 million goal," said Paul Kirchgraber, director of development for the Foundation. "We are pushing aggressively to reach the second $1 million goal by spring of 2013."

Kirchgraber said reaching that second $1 million goal would allow them to start construction of the teaching winery. He said the timeline goal is to finish construction and open the winery by the fall of 2014.

He said the first phase of the project would be basically the construction of the building.

"We're looking at two things," he said. "First is the physical structure, followed by the outfitting of the winery."

He explained that the outfitting would include all of the equipment necessary for the winery to turn grapes into bottled wine.

The fund-raising campaign offers a menu of funding alternatives and financial partnerships.

For information, call Paul Kirchgraber on the Prescott campus at (928) 717-7773 or Linda Buchanan on the Verde Valley campus at (928) 634-6530.

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