Lincoln Land Community College and the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association announced today a partnership that involves training for a growing number of wine entrepreneurs and educational opportunities for wine enthusiasts.
The partnership officially began today with LLCC hosting the Illinois State Fair Wine Competition, formerly held on the campus of the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign. The competition, which continues through Wednesday, features approximately 125 Midwest amateur entries and nearly 300 Illinois commercial entries.
“This partnership acknowledges the expansion of the Illinois wine industry and the vital role education plays in helping these businesses succeed,” said Charlotte Warren, Ph.D., president of LLCC. “This is a growing area for entrepreneurs, and we are very interested in providing training and information to aid in these endeavors. We also recognize the interest among wine enthusiasts to learn more about enjoying and evaluating wines.”
She noted that the Illinois wine industry has grown from 12 wineries in 1997 to more than 90 today, with 450 vineyards across the state.
Future plans under development include credit classes in viticulture, wine dinners and classes through the culinary arts program, and next year, hosting of the Illinois State Fair Wine Competition in a culinary restaurant located in the soon-to-be-completed Workforce Careers Center on campus.
Thomas Jennings, director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, commented, “The Department of Agriculture is pleased to see this partnership between the Illinois wine industry and Lincoln Land. Providing this type of education to our young adults and entrepreneurs is the key to creating sustainable futures in this industry.”
Bruce Morgenstern, chair of the board of the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association, thanked LLCC and Director Jennings for their support of the wine industry.. “I can’t stress enough the importance of education in the wine industry. Thanks in large part to the Department of Agriculture, we are able to retain Bradley Beam as our enologist for the state of Illinois.. He has taught dozens of wine classes at the University of Illinois, assisted numerous winemakers in fine-tuning their product, and hosted winemaking workshops in nearly every corner of the state. We are pleased to offer the budding winemakers of central Illinois an opportunity to learn from Brad’s expertise through LLCC’s upcoming workshops and classes.”