The Fall semester began for Folsom Lake College Viticulture students at the end of August with a visit to the Lodi Winegrape Commission’s Demonstration Vineyard, a small plot of 37 vines adjacent to a public park at 2545 West Turner Road in Lodi. Stanton Lange, a long-time Lodi winegrower, shared his expertise with the class by lecturing about Crush District 11 and the history of the Demonstration Vineyard (Figure 1). Instructor Dr. Cecilia Osorio then used the vineyard to teach a hands-on lesson about field ampelography. Students put their knowledge to the test assessing leaves, grape clusters, and canes to identify grape cultivars.

Figure 1. Stanton Lange in the Demonstration Vineyard. Photo by Lisa Meline.


Next came the fun part, where the students dug in and harvested all the white wine varieties which were ripe and ready for picking! Some of the harvested grapes were shared with the Lodi Wine Visitor Center Tasting Room to educate visitors and to encourage them to get out into the vineyard. The rest of the lot was hauled up to Folsom Lake College El Dorado Center for crushing and processing. The day was hot and a bit smoky, but the class was off and running on their first big winemaking adventure (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Ready for pressing. Photo by Lisa Meline.

Folsom Lake College students were back in the Demonstration Vineyard at the end of September. This time it was the red grapes that were ripe for harvesting. The class harvested all the red grape varieties (Figure 3) and transported them back up the hill to Folsom Lake College’s El Dorado Center for processing. The students had a little help from the enology instructor, Clare Kessler, who looked after the must and advised the new winemakers on yeast selection. The grapes were crushed (Figure 4. that’s me!), fermented on the skins, pressed, and now the wine is amid it’s secondary fermentation.

Figure 3. Harvesting the reds. Photo by Lisa Meline.


Figure 4. The author, Kaitlyn Tiner, on the crush pad. Photo by Lisa Meline.

The class is now exploring Integrated Pest Management topics and patiently awaiting the final bottling lab in early December. Are you brave enough to try our wine?! Thanks to the generosity of the Lodi Winegrape Commission, the Folsom Lake College viticulture students have plenty of ‘material’ for their introductory course on Viticulture and Enology.

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