College of the Canyons and Pulchella Winery in Newhall are partnering to expand the Wine Studies program with a vineyard at the Valencia campus.
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Planted on the slopes on the western section of campus, the new vineyard of California Zinfandel vines was donated by Remo Belli and transplanted by local vintners Steve Lemley and Nate Hasper, who own Pulchella Winery in Newhall.
“The addition of a vineyard to our Valencia campus couldn’t come at a better time,” said COC Chancellor Dianne Van Hook. “It will perfectly complement the Culinary Arts facility we are building, creating unique learning opportunities for our students and augmenting our Wine Studies curriculum.”
Lemley and Hasper began the replanting process on Feb. 1, transporting the 50-year-old vines. COC is now one of the only Southern California-based community colleges to maintain an operational vineyard.
Vines cloned from the existing vineyard will be used to plant an additional plot of land in fall 2014.
The newly installed vines “hold quite a bit of history,” Lemley and Hasler said, having originally been planted by Central California viticulturist Richard Sauret for Remo Belli Vineyards in 1969.
Considered one of the godfathers of vineyard management for the central coast region, Sauret is widely credited with pioneering the start of Paso Robles grape farming, with his grapes still garnering awards nearly 45 years later.
“We are very excited to be able to transplant and manage these vines, which have such a rich history and are associated with an area we are so familiar with,” Lemley said.
Although Pulchella Winery has volunteered to oversee the vineyard for the next several months, college officials expect that culinary students and faculty will eventually manage the plot.
“This vineyard is a testament to the power of partnerships,” Van Hook said. “It is proof that we can do more together than we can alone. Remo, Nate and Steve are amazing supporters of College of the Canyons, and we are proud to be the recipient of their generosity and selfless service. The glasses filled from our first harvest will be raised in their honor.”
In addition to the hands-on curriculum applications that the vineyard will create for students, the college will also be able to sell surplus portions of its annual grape harvest to local winemakers.
The proceeds received from the surplus harvest will augment the college’s annual budget and help fund operational costs.
College officials anticipate an initial harvest in fall 2015.
About the COC Wine Studies program
The Wine Studies program is designed to provide students desiring employment in the culinary or restaurant industry with foundation knowledge and skills in world viticulture and wine styles. The curriculum provides an introduction to wine appreciation, service and wine and food pairings. Upon completion of the program, students will have a well-developed wine palate and will be able to assist customers in wine selection.
About Pulchella Winery
Pulchella Winery is the brainchild of self-described troublemakers Nate Hasper and Steve Lemley. Their idea for Pulchella started in Paso Robles in late 2005. After experimenting for many years separately, Nate and Steve joined forces and created the winery with the the binding agent being a collective, raw and intense passion for extracted custom wines without any compromise.
Although Lemley and Hasper believe that schooling in “the rules” is an important backbone for winemaking, they quickly grew bored of the wines it produces and the concept in general. They use their schooling as a reminder of how “the rules” work and then break them. They don’t follow any trends, recipes or a lecture in a text book to produce their wines.
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Source: Santa Clarita News