A program that was years in the making and involves various state and federal agencies has resulted in Chaumette Vineyard & Winery making some history this year.
The winery and two of its workers were recognized last month fore becoming the first Missouri participants in the registered apprenticeship program for the grape and wine industry.
Peggy Zollner and Billy Hutson are the participants in the program, during which they will take online courses through the Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA), do lab work at Chaumette, and get experience working in various aspects of the wine industry at Chaumette over the course of two years.
William Alter, who is semi-retired from Missouri State University and is the VESTA special projects coordinator, talked about the program during the ceremony at Chaumette last month.
VESTA, funded by the Advanced Technological Education Program of the National Science Foundation, began in 2003 at two-year colleges in three states. Missouri was one of those states, with the program launching at what was then Southwest Missouri State at West Plains.
It has grown into a national program, but the apprenticeship program has taken the opportunities to a new level.
“What is the average vineyard and winery looking for? Knowledge, skills … and experience,” Alter said. “How do you get experience? We became aware of the Department of Labor’s registered apprenticeship program.”
See complete story in the March 6 edition of the Herald.