INA – Rend Lake College has awarded 10 stipends to VESTA students from throughout the state with the mission of helping these students grow in the Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance program. The funding covers their registration fee to “Wine Sensory Evaluation” – a workshop by Dr. Ann C. Noble, creator of the Wine Aroma Wheel and an Emeritus Professor from the University of California - Davis.
Her workshop, which takes place Thursday, will usher in this year’s Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association Annual Conference, Feb. 19th - 21st, in Springfield, Ill.
The students will be coming from all across Illinois – in towns like Elburn, Peoria, Woodstock, Murphysboro, Joliet, Nauvoo, Carbondale, and Rapids City.
Viticulture is the science of growing and cultivating grapes, and Enology is the scientific study of wine and the making of wine. The Viticulture and Enology Degree and Certification Programs at RLC provide students a comprehensive examination of grape growing and winemaking through the VESTA consortium of colleges. This consortium includes RLC, Missouri State University, Northeast Iowa Community College and Redlands Community College in Oklahoma.
Rachel Cristaudo, VESTA Project Coordinator for Illinois at RLC, talked about how the pre-conference workshop with Noble will be valuable to the group’s education in the program.
“Sensory analysis of wine is an imperative skill one needs to develop in order to be a connoisseur of wine and to understand how the final product is influenced by the grape growing and winemaking techniques that are chosen,” she said. “Using a common language to communicate about the complexities found in wines is facilitated by the use of the wine aroma wheel. Through attending this workshop, I hope that students will further develop their abilities to recognize, describe and remember the aromas and flavors they perceive in wines, gain a deeper understanding of why a particular wine looks, tastes and smells the way it does, and enhance their capacities to share this information with other people.”
Cristaudo welcomed some feedback from the students about the benefits they see in being able to attend the workshop.
“I feel it will give me a better idea on how we will make and develop the wine that will be sold,” said one student. “I would like to ... develop an even better understanding of wine and wine grapes, and the characteristics that are found through sensory evaluation.”
Another student pointed out that the information provided by Dr. Noble is considered to be the best organoleptic wine analysis the U.S. has to offer.
Some additional comments were:
• “I believe that attending the workshop by Ann Noble will enable me to better depict the flavors in the wines that I am making and will also assist me in being able to explain these flavors to others. By being able to identify and explain different flavors in the wine wheel, I will be more knowledgeable in the tasting room”
• “With every new experience, I can understand and relate to more of the descriptions of these aspects of wine. You cannot make wine without appreciating them.”
• “To help someone else better understand such an awesome and sometimes intimidating beverage would definitely help me in reaching my number one VESTA goal – helping others understand wine.”
• “ …to enhance the winemaking tool kit I’m developing through VESTA prior to opening a winery/vineyard in Northern Illinois.”
• “Too often I believe the wine industry forgets that our ultimate goal should be to create a sensory experience that leaves a lasting and positive influence on the consumer. With this belief in mind, my specific educational goals are to increase my knowledge and awareness in winemaking that creates this situation.”
For one particular student, this will be the second installment of a Noble workshop.
“As a winemaker in the VESTA program, this workshop will give me the opportunity to reinforce skills I previously learned in Sensory Evaluation and Dr. Ann Noble’s previous workshop, and take these skills to a higher level.”
Regardless of what each student hopes to take away from the opportunity, they have to like the price tag.
Dr. Noble’s profile can be viewed online at http://wineserver.ucdavis.edu/people/emeriti/index.php#acn.
Additional information about the IGGVA annual conference is posted at www.illinoiswine.com.