Winemaking certificate students uncork first bottles

Students making wine in laboratory

Students of Dr. Andreea Botezatu’s enology, or winemaking class, make wine as part of their studies. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

Writer: Gabe Saldana, 956-408-5040, gabe.saldana@ag.tamu.edu
Contact: Dr. Andreea Botezatu, 979-845-8563, abotezatu@tamu.edu

COLLEGE STATION — The first students who will earn certificates in winemaking, or enology, from Texas A&M University, College Station, have uncorked their first bottles.

The enology class began working with wine in September as the university launched the certificate program, said Dr. Andreea Botezatu, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service enology specialist in College Station.

“Some of the students who presented their bottles and work processes this November will eventually join a rapidly growing wine industry in Texas,” she said. “So far the state has issued about 400 winery permits, and many regions, especially in West Texas and the Hill Country, are conducive to producing excellent grapes and wines.”

bottle of wine by student group

A bottle of finished malbec wine from a student group in Dr. Andreea Botezatu’s enology or winemaking course. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

The wines her students presented included the white grape varietals moscato giallo and viognier. Red varietals were tannat, malbec and syrah. But the most exciting bottles, Botezatu said, were from a new grape known as Clone 38. It is a variety resistant to Pierce’s disease, developed at the University of California, Davis and grown experimentally in Hye, where the students’ Clone 38 grapes were grown.

“This grape is not commercially released yet, so it was very exciting to see what the clone can do,” she said. “One student group made a regular red variety, one made a port-style wine using dehydrated grapes. And yes, they were very tasty.”

Messina Hof Winery of Bryan supplied a portion of the grapes used in the student projects, all of which were grown in Texas. The winery’s owners attended the student presentations and Botezatu pointed out the significance of a strong showing from Texas A&M’s first winemaking certificate class.

“There was a lot of excitement and focus by this first group on producing successful bottles,” she said. “I’m very pleased with the students’ work this semester; now we’re looking forward to 2018.”

Go to http://bit.ly/2z69Gzg for information on the enology certificate and visit the group’s Texas Viticulture and Enology Facebook page @TXViticulture for program updates.

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