Registration opens for OSU online vineyard management class

November 4, 2011
Mel Martinez at computer
King Estate Vineyard Manager Mel Martinez listens to an OSU online lecture about grapevine physiology. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has opened registration for an online class that teaches wine industry professionals and aspiring vintners and grape growers to manage vineyards.

The lectures for Principles of Vineyard Management will take place Tuesdays and Thursdays between Jan. 10 and March 15 from 8-9:50 a.m. Professor Patty Skinkis, viticulture specialist with the OSU Extension Service, will teach the course.

Students will learn how to select prime sites for growing grapes, design and plant a vineyard, identify and manage pests and diseases, balance yield and fruit quality, use cover crops, and ensure that vines are getting the proper nutrients. Participants will be encouraged to think critically about management practices and make decisions based on case studies and research presented throughout the course.

The class is taught on the OSU campus in Corvallis to upper-division students, and will be streamed live through a conferencing program that lets online students see in real time the same lecture slides that the cohort on campus sees. The classes are recorded so students can later view them at their convenience.

Online students do not earn the three credits that their on-campus counterparts do, and they don't receive a grade or have to take the tests. Online participants can, however, type questions to Skinkis in real time and also take part in an online forum for class discussions. Students who sign up for the online version are allowed to attend the lectures in person. The class is not affiliated with Ecampus, OSU's provider of online degrees.

The cost is $500 before Nov. 30 and $600 after that. The deadline for registration is Dec. 21. Register online.

Skinkis, a faculty member of OSU's Oregon Wine Research Institute, teaches another class in the same manner every other year called Grapevine Growth and Physiology. The class will be offered in winter term 2013. Read more about that class and how one vineyard manager benefited from it.

Skinkis said that 110 on-campus students and 132 online participants have taken the two courses since she started teaching them in 2008. About half of the online students planned to develop or join commercial enterprises, she said. The other half are already employed in the industry, she added. They've included vineyard managers, winemakers, agricultural consultants and owners of small vineyards and wineries. They've hailed from California, Idaho, Indiana, Washington, Wisconsin, Canada and even France.

Author: Tiffany Woods
Source: Patty Skinkis