Wine Academy to Launch – Invites Name Suggestions

Two veteran Nevada wine producers are throwing open their vineyards to teach a year-long class to serious students of grape growing and winemaking. The two-phase program requires enrollees to tend to their own mini-vineyards, located within vineyards belonging to the instructors.

The student plots are best described as “a row of vines,” probably 20 or so, say Joe Bernardo and Bill Coplin, who will teach the classes at two locations. Bernardo’s got a hilltop vineyard in Mogul, and Coplin’s sits near Washoe Lake. Students will “adopt” about 20 vines in one spot or the other, assuming responsibility for the crop with oversight from Bernardo or Coplin.

“We’ll supervise the weeding, the suckering, the pruning, taking care of the vines from the time we plant them until the time they produce grapes,” said Bernardo.

The men say they’ll accept enrollees any time, but phase one will launch in March, as the growing season ramps up. After the harvest, students will start phase two, lessons on the craft of making wine.

“At that point, we will actually teach them how to take the grapes into the winery. Crush them, destem them, and process – whatever it takes – into wine.” he said. It may be an 8-10 step process depending on the variety of grape.

Students who finish both phases will earn a certificate endorsed by Nevada Vines and Wines, which promotes the development of a wine industry in Nevada. The organization views the vineyard education as essential, and recognizes Bernardo and Coplin as experts.

They both have so much experience, so much knowledge, about wine, about grapes, about growing,” says Terry Bath, president of Nevada Vines and Wines.

“They’ve been growing grapes and producing wine in Nevada for a long time, very silently,” she said.

What Bernardo and Coplin don’t know is what to call their school. For the moment, it’s “Wine Academy,” or “Adopt-a-Vine,” but they’re mulling other names, and they’re inviting suggestions. They’ll award a bottle from the Bernardo estate for a winning suggestion.

“I’ve got seven varieties,” says Bernardo.” The winner gets to choose.

Bernardo and Coplin say the Wine Academy will take new students on an ongoing basis, and they even encourage partnering for the time-crunched to share the workload with another person.

Conscientious vineyard care will requires working at least once a week in the spring and summer, they say. Students should enroll by March 1 to get the full year of training with the inaugural class. The cost is $25.

Contact the Wine Academy by calling Joe Bernardo at 775-750-1801, or Bill Coplin 775-291-8513.


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