Napa Valley College Estate Winery

2277 Napa-Vallejo Highway(Streblow Dr. Exit)
Napa, CA 94558



The Napa Valley College Board of Trustees approves the creation of the Viticulture and Winery Technology program. Dr. John Brookes is hired as the first Program Coordinator. Classes are offered under the AGRI (Agriculture) heading.

The Student Vineyard is planted and all materials and labor are donated by local vintners. It is the first of many generous donations that the department continues to receive in support of the Viticulture and Winery Technology program. The students assist in the planting efforts.

Dr. Brookes resigns and Stephen Krebs is hired as the new Program Coordinator. During the fall semester, a total of three classes are offered and 32 students enroll.

The first crop of Napa Valley College Chardonnay grapes is harvested by students and staff. Seven tons are sold and the department earns $5950. Revisions are made to the curriculum and two adjunct instructors are added to the staff. The Variety Collection is planted and four rows of Chardonnay are converted to Pinot noir to provide red grapes for the winemaking class.

The department enters into a grape sale contract with Vichon Winery and proceeds are used to pay for improvements to the Ag Lab and for the purchase of some basic vineyard equipment. Vichon produces 100 cases of Napa Valley College Chardonnay that is sold exclusively through their tasting room.

The department is offered a grape sale contract with Vichon which will be in effect through the 1993 vintage. A large crop funds the construction of the vineyard shed and a Kubota tractor. The storage room in the Ag Lab is converted into an office for Stephen Krebs.

Winemaking students continue to produce three barrels of wine in the back of the Ag Lab classroom. The department purchases a 1958 Case crawler tractor and a new sulfur duster with grape sale proceeds.

A refrigerated big rig trailer is rented and parked behind the Ag Lab, serving as the first temperature-controlled winemaking facility operated by the department. Enrollments reach 350 students and additional winemaking classes are added to the curriculum. More adjunct instructors are hired.

The refrigerated big rig trailer is rented again and one student constructs and donates some wooden steps to make it easier to get inside the container. The vineyard shed is expanded to accommodate new equipment and the back concrete pad is added to the Ag Lab, serving as the grape processing area.

The department purchases two shipping containers and places them at the edge of the Ag Lab grape processing area. One container is refrigerated and the other is for storage of basic winemaking equipment. A roof is added to the concrete pad at the back of the Ag Lab. The grape sale contract with Vichon Winery is in its final year.

The market for Chardonnay grapes is weak and the department processes its grapes and produces wine at a custom crush facility. The resulting wine is sold on the bulk market, with a small amount labeled and sold as Napa Valley College Chardonnay under the producer's bond. Enrollment in department classes now exceeds 500 students. Stephen Krebs receives the McPherson Distinguished Teaching Award.

The Upper Valley Campus in St. Helena is constructed and the department establishes a small Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard along Pope Street. Students work on the layout and planting of the vines. From the Napa vineyard, grapes are again made into wine which is then sold on the bulk market. Dr. Stephen Krebs completes his doctoral degree at UC Davis, with a specialization in Agricultural Ecology. His dissertation topic concerns the insect phylloxera and the use of resistant rootstocks.

The department signs a two-year grape sale contract with Stags' Leap Winery. The curriculum is expanded in order to offer classes at the Upper Valley Campus.

The department curriculum is thoroughly revised and updated. New certificate and degree options are created. Dr. Krebs proposes the expansion of department facilities with the President's Office, the Board of Trustees and the Napa Valley College Foundation. It is decided that the college will seek private donations to fund the construction of a new building that will include a classroom, a laboratory and staff offices.

A survey shows that enrollment in department classes now exceeds 1000 students each academic year. The survey also shows that about 75% of the students already work in the wine industry. With this information supporting the fund raising effort, large donations from local vintners and philanthropic organizations provide money for construction. The building will become the first facility at Napa Valley College made possible because of private financial support. A grape sale contract with the Hess Collection through the 2000 vintage is signed. The first crop of Cabernet Sauvignon is harvested at the Upper Valley Campus vineyard.

The Trefethen Family Viticultural Center is completed and the college decides to seek additional donations to construct a winery. Many local vintners participate with department staff to develop the winery concept and preliminary architectural drawings of the new winery are prepared. The Board of Trustees and the Napa Valley College Foundation support an application for funding through the Napa Valley Vintners Wine Auction for the next year. The department course designation is changed from AGRI to VWT.

The Napa Valley Vintners Wine Auction provides funding for the Teaching Winery. Detailed plans are created by architect Don Mackey, department staff and contributing winemakers. Initial discussions for the re-planting of the Student Vineyard are conducted. Dr. Krebs begins discussions with the President's Office for the bonding of the new winery. The college creates the new Winery Technology Instructor full-time faculty position. The entire curriculum is reviewed, updated and expanded.

Construction begins on the Teaching Winery. Dr. Geraldine Ritchie is hired as the first Winery Technology Instructor. Winery and laboratory capabilities are improved and expanded. A grape sale contract to produce vineyard-designated Chardonnay is signed with WineSmith Winery which will continue through the 2007 vintage.

The Napa Valley Vintners Teaching Winery opens and the Napa Valley College Foundation Capital Campaign to Equip the Teaching Winery begins. The wine industry donates many pieces of equipment to outfit the new facility. After harvest, 3.5 acres of old Chardonnay vines are removed.

The replanting of the Student Vineyard begins and the old Chardonnay vines are replaced with smaller blocks of Sauvignon blanc, new Chardonnay clones, Pinot noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux red varieties.

The California Senate passes SB 220, which grants Napa Valley College permission to seek bonding of the winery, and the governor signs the bill in September. The college creates the Viticulture and Winery Technology Foundation to serve as the actual bond applicant.

The new vines produce their first crop and wine quality is exceptionally good. The college and the department continue to pursue the bonding of the Teaching Winery.

After harvest, more of the old Chardonnay vines are removed and the land is prepared for more replanting the next year. Enrollments remain strong with about 1000 students taking classes each academic year.

Two acres of vines are planted in the spring and the last old Chardonnay vines are removed after harvest. Dr. Ritchie resigns her Winery Technology Instructor position. Greg Siewert is hired as an Instructional Assistant in the winery. He will soon take on additional responsibilities as Assistant Winemaker. Peter Allen becomes an Instructional Assistant in the vineyard.

Bryan Avila is hired to transition the winery into a commercial operation. The Teaching Winery is bonded and the production of commercial wines begins. The last vineyard replanting is completed in the spring. The VWT Warehouse is constructed to house equipment and provide refrigerated storage for bonded and library wines. 

Under the leadership of Mr. Avila, the winery operation is improved and the Napa Valley College Estate brand is created. The first sale of Napa Valley College wines occurs in November. The 2008 Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Pinot noir, and Rosé all quickly sell out. Tom Muscatine is hired as Instructional Assistant in the vineyard.

The department continues to develop marketing plans for wine sales. Many donations from wine commerce companies aid in this effort.  

Our 2009 NVC Estate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir earns a silver medal and our 2008 NVC Estate Syrah  and Cabernet Sauvignon and earn a bronze medal in the San Francisco Chronicle's annual Wine Competition.

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