Students from the viticulture class at Grayson College recently went out to a local winery and picked nearly 1000 pounds of grapes to practice the wine making they are learning in class.
The students ranged in all age from young adults to men and women with established lives.
Darren Weir and Maxx Wageman are two students who went on the trip. Weir is from the area and wanted to learn more about the history of North Texas’s grape industry, and Wageman, who is not from Texas, was intrigued by the Texas wine industry.
“Wine has always been an interest so this was an opportunity because they have a very good program,” Wageman said. “I am really interested in wine.”
Weir wanted to get his hands some grapes and learn a bit about the fermenting process.
“In preparation of starting out own batch of wine in the course we came out here and harvested about 800-1000 pounds of grapes by hand,” Weird said.
It took the 15 or so people about an hour to harvest them. He said the weather was nice and it was a great experience.
Wageman said it was great getting to learn to use the different types of equipment, especially the Go Fermenter, a piece of equipment Grayson College Director of Viticulture Andrew Snyder was particularly proud of.
“We are doing an experiment with a new market Go Fermenter,” Snyder said. “It is a newly developed device that will help extract pigmentation color from these red grapes automatically using this new device.”
Snyder said the grapes were Cabernet Franc grapes donated to the college from Hidden Hanger Vineyards owner Stormy Cansler.
The college recently complete construction of a distillery which will soon be put to use by the viticulture students.
“The wine picking gives the students a hands on learning opportunity outside the classroom,” Snyder said. “Here at Grayson College we value the fact our ecology and viticulture program is very hands on. Students who graduate from this program will be able to plant a vineyard or open a winery and be successful at it.”
Wageman said she was thrilled to learn about the Texas wine industry. She said before moving to Texas she only knew about California and France as places for growing grapes. She also talked about how much she enjoyed learning the different types of equipment.
Weir said he moved to Grayson County to learn more about the history of the grape industry. He is also interested in getting his own land.