Campus Life  

Viticulture program at Okanagan College a growing career

Okanagan College Media Release

A member of Blasted Church Vineyards’ official “congregation” hopes to find a few converts when he makes a presentation on the Viticulture Certificate program Tuesday, Dec. 11 at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus.

Morton Serbon, the vineyard manager at the irreverent Okanagan Falls winery, will be one of the guest speakers talking about a variety of wine-related certificate programs starting up at the Penticton campus this January.

The information session takes place from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. at The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation, Room PC 204. Information will also be provided on the part-time Winery Assistant certificate and the part-time Wine Sales certificate.

With some teaching already under his belt, Serbon said he has been struck by the wide-ranging profiles of students choosing to enter viticulture.

“There are people who have a background in insurance, and even some who are entering this field with backgrounds in the culinary arts, architecture, even landscaping,” he said. “This is both a creative and physically demanding field, and for people who want to do something different, this can be a great change of lifestyle.”

Serbon moved to New Zealand from South Africa at the age of 17, obtained two viticulture certificates while there, and worked on vineyards in the Hawke’s Bay area ranging from 60 to 390 acres, including Esk River Wines, Morton Estate Wines and Nobilo/Constellation Wines NZ – part of the largest wine company in the world. He arrived in Canada in 2008, and hasn’t looked back since.

Teaching has added a new element to his experience here, and he’s quickly developed a reputation for giving students “a blast,” so to speak.

“I just like giving back to the students and the industry,” he said.

Serbon will be one of a group of the industry’s highly skilled experts teaching the full-time course, which will cover viticulture from the scientific principles underlying grape growing, to the various influences on grape quality. The course also deals with sustainable viticulture, air blast sprayer calibration, irrigation, propagation, vineyard maintenance, equipment operation, and provides a 40-hour practicum in the vineyard.

To register for the information night or get more information, call 250-492-4305, or email [email protected].

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