Viticulture

This program including in-class instruction with hands-on learning at local vineyards and wineries.

Student tending grape vines in the vineyard

Program

Workforce Training Program

Required Courses

  • Introduction to Viticulture
  • Vineyard Site Selection
  • Soil Prep and Planting
  • Vine Grafting and Propagation
  • Canopy Management
  • Dormant Pruning
  • Vineyard Management - Part I
  • Vineyard Management - Part II
  • Basic Tractor Repair
  • Tractor Safety
  • Pest Control
  • Pesticide Applicator's License
  • Vineyard Spraying
  • Harvesting & Basic Analysis of the Must
  • Harvest Internship

Program Information

The only one of its kind in Virginia, PVCC offers Certificate Programs in both Viticulture and Enology. Classes are non-credit and held on Saturdays. To receive a Certificate in Viticulture, a student must complete fifteen required classes. All classes are taught by industry professionals and all are held at local wineries or vineyards, or class begins here at PVCC and then travel to a winery or vineyard. A student can begin taking classes at any time throughout the year. A passing grade is required to receive credit for the classes in this Certificate. Classes in this Certificate may be taken in any order.


Introduction to Viticulture
Establishing a vineyard requires sound management decisions from the initial planning stage through the harvesting of grapes. This course provides you with practical information on the elements needed to start a working vineyard - everything from grape selection to harvesting! Course starts at PVCC and includes visits to several vineyards.

Contact Hours: 7


Vineyard Site Selection
Find the ideal location for your vineyard - the most important and fundamental decision in the process of wine grape growing! This course includes the fundamentals of vineyard design and layout.

Contact Hours: 7


Soil Prep and Planting
Learn how to prepare soils for growing and planting wine grapes in Virginia. Gain hands-on experience planting vines in a local vineyard.

Contact Hours: 7


Vine Grafting & Propogation
Vitus vinifera must be grafted on to native rootstock in order to survive in Virginia. After Master Grafter Gabriele Rausse shows you how to bench graft, proper root stock selection and forcing and storing of grafted vines, you will graft vines.


Canopy Management
Identify various types of canopy styles with the objective of managing the vineyard and keeping your business objectives in mind: quantity vs. quality. Topics include hedging, leaf pulling and dropping fruit.

Contact Hours: 7


Dormant Pruning
Bring your pruning shears and learn why and how to prune grapevines through lecture and hands-on experience.

Contact Hours: 7


Vineyard Management - Part I
Adopt a row of vines this spring! Be responsible for managing and maintaining an assigned section of a working vineyard during the growing season. Learn the techniques for caring for healthy vines and the crucial decisions in vineyard management to meet your business objectives.


Vineyard Management - Part II
Adopt a row of vines this summer! Be responsible for managing and maintaining an assigned section of a working vineyard during the growing season. Learn the techniques for caring for healthy vines and how to make crucial vineyard management decisions to meeting your business objectives. Prerequisite: Vineyard Management - Part I


Basic Tractor Repair
Correctly maintaining a tractor will add years to its useful life and save you time and money. This class teaches you basic troubleshooting, maintenance and repair of your tractor.


Tractor Safety
The purpose of this class is to make you familiar with tractors and how they can be used safely. Topics include major components of tractors, built-in safety features on the tractor, and safe practices during tractor use.


Pest Control
How can you control pests and weeds without compromising the quality of the fruit? Learn about various types of pests and the damage they can cause. 


Pesticide Applicator's License
In Virginia, all private users of restricted-use pesticides must be certified. Earning your license as a private applicator allows you to use restricted use pesticides to produce an agricultural commodity on land you own, on land you lease, or in exchange for services with another producer.


Vineyard Spraying
To grow healthy ripe fruit, free of disease, a working knowledge of chemical spraying is essential. See how applying fungicides, pesticides and herbicides can benefit your vineyard or cause damage if not applied properly. Understand why a rotational spray program is so critical and how to safely apply sprays. Additional topics include herbicide ground sprays, tank mixing, calibration of tractor and spray unit and foliar nutrient applications.

Contact Hours: 7


Harvesting & Basic Analysis of the Must
Harvesting is peak season in the wine industry. Participants in this hands-on course will be involved in one or more of the 8-10 DuCard harvests this fall, including staging, picking and transporting the grapes, destemming reds, crushing whites/rose plus assessing ripeness in the vineyard and in the lab. We will also discuss and review alternative methods and equipment choices. Specific course dates and times will be determined based on weather and grape conditions, beginning late August and through late October and all class members will provide their day-by-day availability for DuCard to assemble small teams for each harvest. This class will provide a broad range of insight on how to conduct harvests and process fruit in a practical and effective way.

Contact Hours: 7


Harvest Internship
Learn different aspects of vineyard and cellar work as you gain valuable first-hand experience working the harvest at a local winery or vineyard.