Located on the southern part of Kirkwood Community College main campus is the Kirkwood vineyard and winery. Though the continuing education program students are given an eight to nine-month experience on viticulture (the science of vine growing) and oenology (the science of wine making). The program is taught and headed by Lucas Mclntire the viticulture operations coordinator. According to Mclntire with the retirement of Les Ackerman, the former oldest wine maker in the state, he is now “ the number two wine maker, with the second most experience in the state.”
Through the program students get the chance to learn the entire process on making award winning wine. Currently the Kirkwood winery program has “won 90 different awards on the 10 different wines we produce from local, regional and international competitions” according to Mclntire. Currently the wines being produced by Kirkwood can be bought at Multiple stores in the Cedar Rapids area as well as though the Kirkwood Hotel for $12 a bottle. The money produced though sales goes back into the program so that it can expanded and stay updated.
According to Mclntire, “We are not offering courses for credit or a degree in viticulture or oenology. … We did have a fall and spring semester three credit class that I did have good attendance for. Yet, there was a challenge with that with the Kirkwood students typically being only 18 or 19 years old.” The fact that this program is not a degree program or credit class is not set in stone, however. Mclntire said that they are trying to bring it back as an agricultural elective.
Students do receive a certificate from the continuing education program to be displayed as a sign of completion. Students are also helped to start their own winery and vineyard upon graduation if they choose to dive deeper into the world of wine making.
For more information on the Kirkwood winery students can visit http://www.kirkwood.edu/wine or contact Mclntire at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or for more information about other continuing education programs being offered please visit the continuing education web page at https://www.kirkwood.edu/ce.