Updated 11/06/2010 12:47 PM
Surry Community College opens new wine making facility
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DOBSON, N.C. – Governor Bev Perdue was in attendance as Surry Community College opened the doors to its new $5 million dollar Viticulture and Enology Center Friday.
"We will and we do make some of the best wine in America and around the world right here,” said Gov. Perdue. “And this backbone at Surry Community College is going to provide us with the workers and the artisans and the capacity to be a catalyst for this industry.”
Surry Community College has taught wine making for over a decade. They have bottled and sold wine since 2003. But instructor Gill Giese says they will be able to do a lot more with the new 16,000 sq. ft. facility.
"We have a fully functional winery now. We have a crush pad, a barrel room, a dedicated bottling room, an expanded laboratory teaching classroom," he said.
Officials say the wine industry employees around 5,700 people throughout the state. And with Surry Community College's new addition more jobs are possible.
"I think it will be a very important part of creating new jobs for this area not only for the Yadkin Valley but for the entire state of North Carolina," Ed Shelton, co-owner of Shelton Vineyards said.
Surry's program currently has about 50 students from a variety of backgrounds and ages. Giese says he is excited to see who else may want to have a taste of the industry.
"The building is nice, the facility is great and this allows the students to do more, but it's really about the students," he said.
The Viticulture and Enology center was funded through private donations, dollars from the state community college system and bond money.