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Doug Ernst

Napa Valley Register columnist Doug Ernst.

Napa Valley College’s Vineyard and Winery Technology program, which is already the largest in the nation, is bursting at the seams and preparing to expand, thanks to the Napa Valley College Foundation’s emerging capital campaign.

Many graduates of the two-year program are offered jobs upon graduation because they are trained in grape growing, gold-medal wine production and wine sales marketing.

Some move on to UC Davis or other universities that offer four-year degrees. The program helps students join the wine industry.

Additional proof of the quality of the NVC wine program came in January when famed critic Robert Parker gave the 2014 Napa Valley College Estate Winery Cabernet a score of 89, saying, “You can’t ask for much more, as this is pretty serious stuff.”

During a recent Foundation-sponsored “campus crawl” tour of the winery, guests were wowed by the “Parker” wine, which will likely be released for purchase at the annual Mayfair event from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, May 12, at the college winery.

The Vineyard and Winery Technology program expansion is only one of many exciting news stories that will be promoted by the college’s Office of Institutional Advancement.

Others include:

- A state-of-the-art chemistry program featuring a new textbook by Dr. Steven Fawl, who has been teaching for 40 years, including 32 years at NVC.

With the release of his book, this artist-writer-scientist is destined to set a new standard for college chemistry teachers and students.

- An emerging brewing program in which students will grow hops, produce beer and market it for fundraisers. These students will become tomorrow’s brewers.

- A police academy program that continues to graduate law enforcement professionals who are taught the value of community policing by getting to know the communities they will serve.

These graduates are setting new standards in policing.

- A performing arts program that recently set new attendance records with “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and continues to amaze local theater-goers with top-notch, professional-grade performances.

These actors are inspiring new audiences.

Other college-related programs likely to create jobs include:

- A public-private partnership creating privately-financed housing on college property, to help reduce traffic, increase housing opportunities, bolster the college budget and attract local students.

- A facilities masterplan that calls for renovating existing buildings with modern technology and building new ones needed to provide students with science labs and student services.

- The summer-evening emergence of professional baseball at NVC’s Storm Field, courtesy of the Napa Silverados, a minor-league team to rival the Sonoma Stompers, Vallejo Admirals, San Rafael Pacifics and Pittsburg Diamonds, beginning June 1, 2018.

The team will engender community spirit, create new jobs and provide affordable family fun.

These are exciting opportunities for the community to connect with its community college.

The college encourages residents to stay in touch with NVC students, teachers, administrators and trustees by asking questions and contributing to this local source of learning and workforce development.

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Doug Ernst is the Napa Valley College public information officer. Reach him at DErnst@napavalley.edu or (707) 256-7112.

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