OSU online vineyard classes help pros and newbies

An student listens to an online lecture by OSU's Patty Skinkis.
Mel Martinez, vineyard manager at King Estate, listens to an online lecture by OSU's Patty Skinkis. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

Participants learn to design a vineyard, manage pests, and balance yield and fruit quality

When Oregon's 905 vineyards have needed the latest information on growing grapes, they've been able to get it from two online classes offered by OSU.

Professor Patty Skinkis, a viticulture specialist with the OSU Extension Service, has been teaching the courses since 2008. One focuses on vineyard management and the other on grapevine growth and physiology (the latter is presently offered only on campus as of 2013). Prior to 2013, both were taught on campus in Corvallis to upper-division students while being streamed live for the off-campus cohort.

Some 145 on-campus students and 210 online participants have taken the two courses since their inception. Online learners have included vineyard managers, winemakers and owners and potential owners of small vineyards and wineries. They've hailed from Adelsheim Vineyards, Stoller Vineyards and Domaine Drouhin, as well as businesses in other states and countries.

Oregon growers sold $116 million of wine grapes in 2012, making them the state's 10th most important crop.

Read more about the two courses in this article.

Sources: Patty Skinkis; Southern Oregon University's 2012 Oregon Vineyard and Winery Census Report.

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