4-H viticulture pilot pairs youth with wineries


4-H viticulture pilot pairs youth with wineries

Michigan’s wine industry is partnering with Michigan State University Extension and 4-H for a pilot to bring awareness to future careers.

Michigan Wine Collaborative executive director Emily Dockery tells Brownfield they’re developing viticulture clubs in Wayne and Macomb Counties along with a virtual curriculum.

“This is a workforce development project working to introduce young people to viticulture and eventually parlay that into wine education,” she explains.

Youth will learn about the life of a grapevine along with Michigan grape and wine history, careers, value-added agriculture, and agritourism.  Most of the focus is on grape growing with students using grapes to make their own preserves or juices.

The pilot is funding through a Project Greeen grant with a focus on urban areas especially as vacant land in Detroit develops into vineyards.

“We’re working with Detroit Vineyard on dedicating some of those plots to the 4-H project so we have increased space in the city of Detroit, and we can snag Detroit Public Schools and the kids in the city to take advantage of this program and get into the dirt, and learn about grapes,” she says.

Dockery says the pilot is likely to become statewide and shared in other states to encourage talent to work in the industry.