Award-winning Winemaker to Lead Kent State Ashtabula’s Wine Degree Programs

Award-winning Winemaker to Lead Kent State Ashtabula’s Wine Degree Programs

The state’s only wine degree programs, offered by Kent State University at Ashtabula, has hired Edward Trebets to lead the future development of the degrees and serve as a full-time faculty member in the two associate degree programs. Trebets is an award-winning winemaker most recently of Debonné Vineyards and Grand River Cellars in Madison, Ohio. In his tenure as winemaker, he was awarded more than 950 medals: 200 gold and double gold, numerous silver and bronze medals, and 14 Best of Show for his wines, in competitions ranging from the Great Lakes Wine Competition and the Finger Lakes International to the Florida State Fair and the Los Angeles County Fair. Trebets also was the winemaker for Debonné’s 2013 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine that won the 2015 San Francisco Chronicle wine competition for best dessert wine.     

Established in 2011 to serve the wineries and vineyards of Ohio, Kent State Ashtabula’s program has continued to grow. Graduates have gone on to work as winemakers in Northeast Ohio wineries or to open their own winery or vineyard. Over the next few years, Trebets says he hopes to expand the program with the addition of a true working winery to serve as a classroom for students.   

“With a statewide program, it’s very important to us to recruit some of the nation’s best winemakers to teach students in the program,” says Susan Stocker, dean and chief administrative officer of Kent State Ashtabula. “We want Ohio wineries to be competitive on a national level, and offering the area’s future winemakers the best possible education helps ensure that.”

Holding a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, a master’s degree in education and having more than 12 years in the wine industry puts Trebets in a great place to start passing on his specialized knowledge to future wine industry professionals. 

“Ed’s background and experience is so valuable for our students’ education,” says Danielle Weiser-Cline, program academic advisor. “We want them to learn from the best in the industry and instructors who have been successful in the field and cellar. Ed really embodies that, and we’re very happy to have him join the program.”

With past teaching experience, Trebets believes that offering students the opportunity for personal experience has great value in teaching winemaking. 

“Winemaking is a very hands-on educational experience,” he says. “You can only become good at it if you are completely involved in the process. My goal is to give students a good classroom experience but also to allow them to experience the craft at a hands-on level.”

With the Kent State Ashtabula program’s hybrid format, students will attend classes online and come to campus for in-person experiences twice a semester. The largely online format was introduced just over a year ago and has made the program much more accessible to students across the state.      

Trebets and his wife, Gina, have been married since 2007 and reside in Chesterland, Ohio, with their son, Jaxson. Trebets and his wife have their own brand called Muddy Paw Wines where they give a dollar per bottle back to the Geauga County Humane Society’s Rescue Village. In his spare time, Trebets enjoys fishing, hunting and spending time with his family.

Learn more about Kent State Ashtabula’s wine degree program