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Winter 2014 Newsletter


Letter from the Program Director

The Fall 2013 semester has come to a close, and we are thrilled to note that the KSUA Wine Degrees Program and the VESTA program in Ohio have made great strides to improve student and industry experiences. Our increased efficiency has allowed for smoother transitions for students taking courses within the VESTA consortium and through KSUA. Our practicum mentors in the industry have been very pleased with the quality of students they have had this year (please read their comments below), and KSUA V&E students leave their practicum experiences with more knowledge than that required for coursework (see "5 Things I Learned from my Practicum" below).

We have increased our web activity on our Facebook page and our From Class to Glass blog, where we feature not only posts from students, but also job openings in and outside of Ohio. Blog posts currently encompass topics ranging from current research and events in viticulture to Ohio wines. Several of our students have also gained employment at wineries and vineyards in Ohio, and we continue to work toward developing more strategies to pair graduates with industry members in need of employees.

So we can offer more on-the-ground courses for our students, we have added more instructors to our ranks. As we continue to expand our program, we will continue to look for new, qualified instructors. If you or someone you know is interested in teaching viticulture or enology, contact Dr. Gee!

Finally, after we evaluated the results of a survey of past, current, and prospective students, we decided to change the program format to a weekend college program, beginning in Fall 2014. This would increase flexibility for our students with full-time jobs or other time commitments that make traditional classes difficult to work into their schedules. This new format would be a hybrid of online and in-person coursework, enabling students from all over Ohio to obtain a KSU degree. Courses would be held online weekly, with on-campus activities held during 2-3 weekends during the semester. Ideally, this means less time away from work for students with full time jobs.

Thank you for taking the time to read our first and last newsletter for 2013, and we look forward to another successful year in 2014!

Best wishes!

Dr. Jodi Creasap Gee
Program Director


Current Student Highlights

5 Things I Learned from My PracticumAbbe Turner

by Abbe Turner

1)     No matter how much you plan and follow a scheduled maintenance/spray program in the vineyard, Mother Nature can change your plans. A season of heavy, frequent rain and cold temperature brings problems and can dramatically affect yields.

2)     Labor can be a challenge- to, hire, train, motivate and schedule. Hourly pay doesn't encourage worker productivity, but the convivial nature of community work might outweigh the competitive and often aggressive nature of piecework. I am still thinking about this challenge and welcome discussion on this topic.

3)     Certain varieties do better in Ohio. Period. Have reasonable expectations for outliers in yield and in vineyard performance.

4)     Agricultural work is grueling, at times downright painful, and workers should be provided fair pay and necessities- breaks, water, restrooms and tools in working order to prevent injury.

5)     It takes more work than I ever imagined to make a good bottle of wine. I will try to appreciate my next glass in its entirety, from the vineyard to the family table. 

Thank you, Abbe, for your sharing your practicum experience!


KSUA Wine and Vine Club

New from Fall 2013: KSUA V&E Students banded together to create the KSUA Wines and Vines Club, the first student club for the Viticulture and Enology Program. The purpose of this club is to improve the depth of knowledge in viticulture practices, the ability to craft quality wines, and the identification, through sensory analysis, of regional characteristics, the winemaker's impact, and detectable flaws in wines.

Guidelines for the club:

  • Open to students 21 years old and over who have taken a VIN course in the immediate past or current semester
  • Meetings to occur once a month with additional winery visits, primarily in Northeast Ohio wineries
  • Club serves as a great supplement to degrees in Enology, Hospitality, and Viticulture

Club Goals:

  • Improve winemaking and sensory analysis skills in a friendly environment
  • Improve identification of major regional differences in common Ohio varieties
  • Identify the impact of oak and barrel aging on the complexity of wine
  • Offer basic understanding of the tasting process for those newer to wine appreciation
  • Discuss regional differences in viticulture practices with a primary focus on Ohio
  • Discuss disease management and cultural practices in the Northeastern United States
  • Stress that quality wine is made from quality grapes
  • Identify ideal climates for specific grape varieties
  • Address ice wine production techniques regarding ideal varieties and harvesting practices

Club Officers:

  • Nancy Evans, Co-President
  • Lori Albrecht, Co-President
  • James Rousseau, Secretary
  • Shane Oiler, Treasurer
  • Dr. Jodi Creasap Gee, Advisor
If you are interested in joining or sponsoring the club, please contact Dr. Creasap Gee.


V&E Instructors: Fall 2013 & Spring 2014

Viticulture Instructor - Eric CottonEric Cotton

New to our program this fall is Eric Cotton, who taught our VIN29300 – Soils for Viticulture class! We could not be more pleased to have him on the V&E team this semester so we could increase the diversity of courses we were able to offer in a traditional format this Fall 2013. With his experience in the lab from his previous life as a chemist and his most recent experience in the vineyard as a local grower of several acres, Cotton makes a great addition to the V&E teaching team. 

Cotton owns Schubert-Ferney Vineyards in Madison Township specializing in European wine grapes.  Born in Phoenix, Arizona, he graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, with additional study at University College London and Case Western Reserve University.  Before working in viticulture full time, he worked for 27 years as an advanced process controls applications engineer and a project manager in the chemical, pulp & paper, and other process Industries.  His articles have been published in Chemical Engineering Magazine and the Proceedings of the Australia and New Zealand Pulp and Paper Technical Association (APPITA).  He has also studied cool climate viticulture and enology at the German Wine Institute. Cotton is the Chairman of the Ashtabula Agricultural Research Station (AARS) Advisory Committee, a member of the Ohio Department of Agriculture's Ohio Grape Industries Committee (OGIC) research subcommittee, and President of the Lake County Farm Bureau.

Enology Instructor - Domenic Carisetti  Domenic Carisetti

Mr. Domenic Carisetti has been teaching our enology courses since the inception of our program, and he's been teaching for VESTA since the beginning of VESTA. With University of California at Davis training, Carisetti is an independent wine consultant with 35 years of experience in cool climate viticulture. Currently located in Western New York, on the Niagara Wine Trail, Carisetti is the hands-on winemaker for Niagara Landing Wine Cellars and the Winery at Marjim Manor, and he helped with the development of two other wineries on the Niagara Wine Trail. With a dedication to making premium wines at every price point, Carisetti focuses on helping people start wineries, helping established wineries make good wines into great wines, and teaching what he knows about winemaking.

Enology Instructor - Edward Trebets

Ed TrebetsWe welcome Edward Trebets to our program, as he teaches the Ice Wine Production course early in the Spring 2014 semester! Edward Trebets is currently the winemaker/chemist for Chalet Debonne Vineyards in Madison, Ohio. He also is the winemaker for Grand Rivers Cellars and South River Vineyards in Harpersfield, Ohio. Prior to this, Trebets was a high school chemistry teacher for the Beachwood City School District in Beachwood, Ohio. Originally from Mentor, Ohio, Trebets received his B.A. in Chemistry from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and his Masters of Education from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. Trebets is married to Gina and they have a one-year-old son, Jaxson, and reside in Chesterland, Ohio. The Trebets' started their own label 4 years ago called "Muddy Paw Wines." They produce two wines, a Semillon and a Cabernet Sauvignon. One dollar per bottle is donated back to the Geauga Humane Society's Rescue Village which is an organization that saves animals, rehabilitates them, and finds proper homes for the animals when they are fit to enter the world again. In his spare time, Trebets enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time with his family.

2013 Practicum Experiences

One of the changes we have made to the practicum experience is that students new to the program or students who select a winery or a vineyard that is new to the program must first contact Dr. Gee to establish the relationship between KSUA or VESTA and the mentor. This allows the Program Director to introduce the program to mentors prior to winery or vineyard managers accepting the responsibility of mentoring a student. It also reduces the likelihood that too many students contact one individual business.

We are proud of our students and how they represent Kent State University Ashtabula. Our students have been successful in their practicums courses and consistently receive "Excellent" evaluations from practicum mentors. In fact, here are some of the good reviews we are seeing from mentors:

  • "Very pleased with this student and program. I had slight unease going into this, thinking [the] student might be in the way and would require too much supervision. I was wrong. [The student] asked the right questions at the right time and understood and used information to make the next decisions."
  • "Very observant.  Understands the processing. Extremely prompt.  Follows instructions well."
  • "She asks great questions!"
  • "[This student] did an excellent job while here and picked up the basic skills quite easily. Looking forward to working with him again."
  • "[This student] is very eager to learn viticulture and enology. He performed many harvest operations from cleaning tanks, equipment, lees filter. He is always on time. He is very polite and performed all his duties satisfactory. I will have him back here to learn other aspects of this business."
  • "It was a pleasure to work with [this student]. Her level of interest was superior and she put in hours far beyond those required for practicum."

Keep up the great work, KSUA Wine Degrees Students!


It's time to contact your advisor and register soon!

VIN25992 Cellar Operations Internship* (Domenic Carisetti)
(*Please sign up for your practicum sites ASAP! Or contact Dr. Gee with questions.)

Provide students initiated in the field of enology with actual and practical exposure to the technology of wine making as is performed during the passive vineyard periods associated with winter. Students are expected to improve their understanding of the methods and science involved by on-site participation in each of the various activities associated with finished wine production. Course serves as actual practical exposure and may qualify as experience for those seeking employment in commercial enology. Prerequisite: VIN 25792. 

VIN11392 Winter Viticulture Practicum (Dr. Gee or Eric Cotton)
Provides students initiated in the field of viticulture practical experience in winter vineyard operations. Students are required to partner with an approved vineyard to participate in the required field experience portion of the course, which serves as work experience for those seeking employment in commercial viticulture. Prerequisite: VIN 11100. 

VIN11492 Spring Viticulture Practicum (Dr. Gee or Eric Cotton)
Designed to provide students initiated in the field of viticulture practical experience in spring vineyard operations. Students are required to partner with an approved vineyard to participate in the required field experience portion of the course. Prerequisite: VIN 11100. 

GEOG31080 Geography of Wine (Dr. Katherine S. Amey)
Examines the physical environment of viticulture including climate, soil and farm practices; the cultural tradition of wine making, consumption and trade; and regional production styles. Prerequisite: None. 

VIN21300 Regional Vineyard Management (Dr. Gee)
A general study of vineyard management applicable to the Mid-America region. Covers management of the mature vineyard and builds on the topics. Prerequisite: VIN 11100. 

VIN20095 Ice Wine Course (Ed Trebets)
This course is a general study of ice wine production, including the origins of American ice wine production. Students will gain an understanding of the sensory and chemical characteristics of ice wine, the grape varieties used in ice wine production, and the viticulture practices used for ice wine production, including the required harvest parameters and practices. Ice wine chemistry and fermentation will be studied, and students will be able to identify yeast strains used in ice wine production. Proper ice wine storage, aging, and bottling techniques, legal parameters for ice wine labeling, and economics of ice wine production will also be covered. Recommended prerequisite: VIN 14600. 

VIN26800 Wine and Must Analysis (Eric Cotton)
Principles of grape juice and wine analysis and the reasons for use of each analysis. Analyses of a practical and useful nature are chosen for the laboratory exercises demonstrating various chemical, physical and biochemical methods. Students participate in workshops and hands-on experiences at participating wineries. Prerequisite: VIN 14600. 

VIN148 Winery Sanitation (VESTA Online Course through KSUA)
The basic science and technology of winery sanitation that includes an introduction to wine microbiology. Covers all methods used for winery sanitation including premises, tanks, pumps, filters, oak barrels and sampling equipment, including but not limited to chemical agents, reagents and thermal treatments leading to sterile bottling. Environmental issues and compliance are also addressed. Prerequisite: VIN 14600. 

Thank you for reading our Winter 2014 Newsletter!

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