All the Wine World's a Circle

     There’s nothing more important on the American agenda than education.

     It’s true in peace time.

     It’s true when we’re at war.

     And it’s doubly true when we’re fighting two wars.

     There simply never is a time when educating our children can take a back seat to other agendas.

     Ongoing education also is important in the business world, and that includes the wine industry. In order to assure a vibrant future for our favorite adult beverage, we need to provide educational opportunities not only for tomorrow’s winemakers, but also for today’s wine drinkers.

     This came to mind when two stories crossed my desk over a three-day period. One was good news for the wine business; the other, not so good.

     The good news was that the first student-produced wines from Napa Valley College had been released. There’s a Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Rose of Cabernet.

     According to the Napa Valley Register, all four wines got high marks from a panel consisting of senior college staff and professional winemakers.

     “I am very happy with the quality of the college wine,” program director Bryan Avila told the Register. “While I provide the recipe, the students maintain the quality and are doing an excellent job.”

     Napa Valley College is unique in California: It is the only community college with a bonded winery.

     Alas, there also was bad news on the wine education front. Copia, the ambitious center that opened in Napa in 2001 but closed a year ago under mounting debt, is not coming back.

     Dubbed “The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts,” and strongly backed by the Robert Mondavi family, Copia never got close to becoming self-sustaining. Reports pegged its annual losses at around $5 million.

     There were efforts to revive the center, but developing a workable economic model proved fruitless. Now, a bankruptcy judge has approved Copia’s liquidation.

     Envisioned as a shining beacon to the wonders of wine, Copia will remain dark forever.

     While that was sobering news, hearing about the wonderful work at Napa Valley College lifted my spirits.

     It also demonstrated that all of life… all education… and even all wine education… is a circle.

Posted in Editor's Journal
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