Since Finger Lakes Community College’s Viticulture and Wine Technology Program began in the fall of 2009, there has been a need for its own facility, said Paul Brock, instructor and the program’s coordinator. With the securing of state funds, the program will soon have a center to call its own.
Since Finger Lakes Community College’s Viticulture and Wine Technology Program began in the fall of 2009, there has been a need for its own facility, said Paul Brock, instructor and the program’s coordinator.
The two-year program, which offers an Associate of Applied Science degree, is currently housed at the Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park in Geneva.
“The need has been there,” Brock said. “It isn’t the best learning experience for the students.”
But with the securing of state funds, the program will soon have a facility to call its own.
“It will allow us to do what we need to do to educate students,” Brock said. “It will be great for the students and great for the industry.”
State Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette, and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, last month announced that Ontario County has received a contract for $3,256,000 in New York state funding through the Department of Agriculture for the construction of the Finger Lakes Viticulture Center in Geneva. The funding was secured in last year’s state budget.
The center, which will be at the technology park in Geneva, will serve as a permanent location for FLCC’s Viticulture and Wine Technology Program.
The state funds will cover the entire cost of the project, with no local funds being used, said Ontario County Administrator John Garvey.
“I think it’s great it came to the Finger Lakes,” Garvey said.
Where it stands
Ontario County sent out a request for proposals for architects for the project, said Garvey.
The deadline for proposals to be submitted was Tuesday.
Garvey said a committee made up of college and county representatives will review the proposals and choose an architect for the project.
He said there isn’t a specific timeline for the project, but the goal is for the center to be open for the fall 2014 semester.
The 6,826-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will include a specialized laboratory for wine production, a combination classroom and laboratory, and classroom and office space, said Garvey. There will also be a teaching vineyard outside.
“In the end, it will be more like a winery environment than a laboratory environment,” said Brock. “It will be better for learning.”
Garvey said the center could mean more jobs in the region’s wine industry.
“I’m eager to get the project under way,” he said. “There’s interest in the project statewide. There are so many things going for it. ... I’m just really excited about it.”
Brock added, “Ideally, with the building, it will draw people in from more than just the Finger Lakes. ... There’s nothing like it around here.”