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Okanagan College is launching a pilot program for a winemaking diploma

Oenophiles unite, there’s a new program in town that will certainly attract a lot of interest.

The new viticulture diploma at Okanagan Culture received $600,000 in funding from the provincial government today.

<who>Photo Credit: KelownaNow

Penticton MLA, Dan Ashton, made the announcement today at Poplar Grove Winery.

“The agrifoods sector is continuing to exceed growth expectations, and the province wants to ensure that our future generations have the skills and training that B.C. needs for the in-demand jobs of the future,” said Ashton. “The viticulture technician program will provide hands on learning opportunities and practical knowledge that will meet the specific needs to help this industry continue to grow successfully.”

For the pilot project, the program will take on 20 students who will begin their studies this fall and will work towards a two-year viticulture technician diploma.

The diploma will provide a hands on, theoretical and practical knowledge that will allow students to eventually work as part of a vineyard management team.

<who>Photo Credit: KelownaNow

"The wine industry is one of the economic engines of our region, and we know that the renowned B.C. wine quality begins in the vineyards,” said Okanagan College’s We're very pleased that we have been able to work with the industry and with the support of the province to further develop the career-focused programming that will serve its needs and the best interests of our students."

The program will be structured around the viticulture growing season, providing opportunities to apply and develop important wine related skills.

These include canopy management, pest control, pruning, training vines and sensory evaluation, as well as occupational health and safety.

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