For winemakers and grape growers who want to improve their skills, Rend Lake College is offering two classes on campus beginning this September.
Introduction to Enology (winemaking) will be held on Tuesday nights over the course of 16 weeks, beginning in early September. The class will be led by Denny Franklin, winemaker at Pheasant Hollow Winery in Whittington. The Governor's Cup Fruit and Dessert wine winners at the 2011 Illinois Wine Competition were both wines from Pheasant Hollow Winery which Franklin made, and his wines have won more than 30 other awards since 1998.
Introduction to Enology is a course in the basic science and technology of winemaking. It is intended for the entrepreneur exploring business opportunities in the grape wine industry, and / or the prospective small winery employee interested in career development. The home winemaker who has never undergone any formal training on the subject may also benefit from this basic course. Students will make wine at home from a kit, track fermentation and make various chemical measurements.
Introduction to Viticulture (grape growing) also is a 16-week course which will be held on Thursday nights at RLC beginning in early September. This class will be taught by John Harp, owner of Two Oaks Vineyard in Benton. For the second year in a row, Harp's Cabernet Franc grapes were used in the wine which won Best of Show in the 2011 Illinois Wine competition.
Introduction to Viticulture is designed to introduce students to current practices for establishing a commercial vineyard and maintaining its health and productivity. Topics covered include varietal selection, site preparation, equipment, site selection, first season establishment, vine growth development and training, trellis systems, vine propagation, weed control and vine disease control.