Kent State University at Ashtabula Announces New Wine Label and Partnership With Laurello Vineyards for Blended Learning Experience for Students
Kent State University at Ashtabula is partnering with Laurello Vineyards to expand the educational opportunities for students in its wine degree programs, crafting a distinctive experience where students participate in all aspects of grape growing and winemaking. The unique, blended learning culminates in the production of a new Kent State Ashtabula labeled wine. The first two wines, a Riesling and a cabernet blend, will be released this December.
Laurello Vineyards is a small boutique winery nestled in the Grand River Valley in Geneva, Ohio. The winery was established in 2002 by Kim and Larry Laurello Jr. and operates and maintains 10 acres of estate grown vineyards, producing wines that reflect the uniqueness of the Grand River Valley and Lake Erie region.
Under the new agreement, students will actively learn in the vineyards owned and operated by Laurello Vineyards and in the cellar at Laurello’s Harpersfield Township winery. They will do so under the guidance and direction of Ed Trebets, an award-winning winemaker who serves as director of the wine degree programs at Kent State Ashtabula.
“This is an exciting partnership for our students for two main reasons,” says Susan J. Stocker, Ph.D., dean and chief administrative officer at Kent State Ashtabula. “Most importantly, it helps us provide an atmosphere of a teaching winery where our students can learn and share. We are grateful to Kim and Larry for generously opening their doors to our students.
“And secondly, it will be rewarding for students to see the finished product, a Kent State Ashtabula labeled wine, on store shelves, in people’s homes and on tables across the region,” Dean Stocker continues.
The first two wines – Sunburst, a Grand River riesling, and Sunset, a vinifera blend of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc – will be available for purchase through Laurello Vineyards.
“We at Laurello’s are honored to share our boutique winery and hands-on learning atmosphere,” say Kim and Larry Laurello Jr., owners of Laurello Vineyards. “With any type of education, we feel a smaller venue is a real gem for learning. This unique relationship will allow students to engage and learn the journey from the vineyard to the bottle.”
Kent State Ashtabula offers the only wine degree programs in the state of Ohio, providing students the opportunity to earn degrees in viticulture (the study of vine growing and grape harvesting) and enology (the study of wine and winemaking). The hybrid study program combines online courses with in-person experience in state-of-the-art laboratories, vineyards and wineries.
“Our program is what the wine industry needs due to the rapid growth in the past 10 years,” Mr. Trebets says. “Our industry will need skilled workers in the winery and the vineyard as it continues to grow and more entrepreneurs want to join the industry.”
For more information about the Kent State Ashtabula brand of wines or the viticulture and enology programs, visit www.kent.edu/ashtabula/wine.