Wine Degrees Faculty Selected for European Study Tour

Trebets and Cotton to take part in VESTA collaboration with foreign winemakers thanks to NSF international grant

Kent State University at Ashtabula lead faculty Ed Trebets and instructor Eric Cotton will be among a group of educators traveling to collaborate with European winemakers on innovative practices and technology advances within the wine industry. 

The Study Tour is a VESTA (Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance) program funded through a National Science Foundation (NSF) International Advanced Technology Education grant.  The tour will travel to Portugal and France for the purpose of collaborating about innovative scientifically based practices and technology advances found in the European grape and wine industries. When they return, they will then create learning modules to be integrated into viticulture and enology courses for VESTA and Kent State University Ashtabula.

Trebets and Cotton are part of a group of 7 faculty and 4 advisors taking part in the VESTA Study Tour.

 “Eric and I are excited and honored to be selected for this wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Trebets. “We hope to gain a unique perspective and understanding of emerging practices within the industry to bring back to our students. Our goal is that they can then implement, here in our region, some of what has become integral to the sustained success of the European industry.”

Through hands-on faculty learning experiences, VESTA instructors aim to acquire and demonstrate an understanding of these advances and practices in the European industry to improve viticulture and enology technician education in the U.S.

While the current COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges and delays, planning is well underway with arrangements being made for a potential fall 2021 study tour, when easing of seasonal demands in the vineyards and wineries will allow for meaningful exchange between the European hosts and the visiting instructors.  Specific educational and industry sites and dates will be announced once pandemic travel restrictions have been removed.  

Kent State University Ashtabula is a member of the VESTA National Center of Excellence, also funded by the National Science Foundation. VESTA is a partnership of universities and two-year colleges across the country, all with a 21st century vision for education in grape growing and winemaking.

Kent State Ashtabula is home to the only wine degrees program in the state of Ohio, offering associate of applied science degrees and certificates in both viticulture and enology.  Additionally, the program produces its own line of award-winning Kent State Ashtabula Wines in partnership with local boutique winery Laurello Vineyards.  For more information, visit        


POSTED: Friday, October 2, 2020 - 10:27am
UPDATED: Friday, October 2, 2020 - 10:29am
Kent State Ashtabula Communications and Marketing