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COC growing in wine wisdom

College adds vineyard to campus for culinary program

Posted: February 18, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 18, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Recently installed Zinfandel grape vines are planted along the slopes of the western section of College of the Canyons. The vines were donated to the college by Remo Belli Vineyards in Paso Robles and transplanted and installed by Steve Lemley and Nate Haspers of Pulchella Winery and tasting room on Feb. 1. Signal photo by Charlie Kaijo.


What’s a Wine Studies curriculum without a vineyard? 

Given a recent addition to the Santa Clarita Valley community college’s Valencia campus, it’s not the College of the Canyons’ course offerings.

Earlier this month COC added Zinfandel grape vines to the western slopes of its campus.

The vines were donated to the college by Remo Belli Vineyards in Paso Robles and transplanted and installed by Steve Lemley and Nate Haspers of Pulchella Winery and tasting room in Newhall.

And while the just-planted vines look like little more than sticks at the present time, the college has high hopes for their future.

“The addition of a vineyard to our Valencia campus couldn’t come at a better time,” said COC Chancellor Dianne Van Hook. “It will perfectly complement the Culinary Arts facility we are building, creating unique learning opportunities for our students and augmenting our Wine Studies curriculum,”

Pulchella Winery has volunteered to oversee the vineyard for the next several month, but Van Hook plans for that task to be handed over to students enrolled at the COC Institute for Culinary Education.

The vineyard installation means College of the Canyons is among the few Southern California community colleges to have a working vineyard.


PulchellaWinery: Posted: February 18, 2014 8:00 a.m.

User Removed Comment.

JohnM: Posted: February 18, 2014 10:25 a.m.

Yo Pulchella, they don't say anything about white zinfandel in the article. And thanks for the crummy old vines that they bulldozed plants for and will now have to spend money watering, all to grow wine in a region not suited to produce it.

PulchellaWinery: Posted: February 18, 2014 10:47 a.m.

John, Thanks to the Signal for edited the original article to remove the White comment.

As for the water concerns, farmers are well aware that we are in a serious drought, and wine grape growers are taking steps to prepare their vineyards for conservation in many ways to preserve such a precious resource. This included DRY FARMING and we hope private citizens will follow our example and treat clean, potable water as the precious resource it is.

We invite you to visit the link below and educate yourself about wine industry water usage.

JohnM: Posted: February 18, 2014 10:59 a.m.

Yo Pulcella, just because you type DRY FARMING in all caps like that doesn't mean you can miraculously grow wine without a bunch of water. That article you linked caters to the stupid with sentences like this: "The less water, the better the final product!!!" Um, no. That's just trying to rephrase the idea that the proper irrigation amounts for grapes (which is still a ton) is better than overwatering them. Grapes have big broad leaves and lose a ton of water to evapotranspiration. Also, whoever wrote this article doesn't understand math with the "one egg = 7 cases of wine" water use comparison. It's so utterly disingenuous. Admit to the fact that your wine uses plenty of water but you think it's worth it, that's way more honest.

JohnM: Posted: February 18, 2014 11:29 a.m.

Also Pulchella, maybe you shouldn't be so condescending and "educate yourself" too. Here's a link to a study from 10 years of research at the University of California using field tests and special chambers and other research that finds for each grapevine, "water use has ranged from 29 to 34 inches (approximately 1,400 to 1,700 gallons per vine)." Here's the link:

So for just the 20 or so vines I can see in the photo, that's twenty or thirty THOUSAND gallons of water for the year, the amount in a large backyard swimming pool.

chefgirl358: Posted: February 19, 2014 9:53 a.m.

I remember when the Agua Dulce winery opened, and all of the local residents wells went DRY. Lawsuits and crazyness ensued. Bottom line...all living things, especially types of food, need water.

BBennetts: Posted: February 20, 2014 10:36 p.m.

Hats off to a local business that is helping expand educational opportunities at COC. I actually read the link above that talked about dry farming and why it is the preferred method when growing wine grapes. Interesting. Less than a gallon of water goes into growing grapes for one bottle of wine. Compare that to a single 10 minute shower that uses 40 gallons.

No one better tell JohnM that there are four golf courses nearby. You wanna talk about water usage.

JohnM: Posted: February 20, 2014 11:34 a.m.

BBennetts, ohose comparisons in Pulchella's article took the volume of a bottle of wine (under a gallon) and said if it take X gallons of water to produce a chicken eggs, that's equivalent to the volume of water that would be held in X many bottles of wine. It's not like you pour a gallon of water on a grapevine and get a gallon worth of wine out--common sense can tell you that. Read the link I sent, by actual scientists, and you'll see how much water grapes use.

ccboys2013: Posted: February 20, 2014 4:51 p.m.

JohnM, you kill me. With all the water issues in california, you choose this one to complain about. How about the billions of gallons of water that pour into the ocean everyday, that use to be diverted to farmers. You and this state don't have a clue when it comes to water use.

JohnM: Posted: February 21, 2014 12:02 a.m.

ccboys, that's called keeping a functional ecosystem instead of letting farmers waste water growing water-hungry crops because the only thing they care about is maximizing profit.

ccboys2013: Posted: February 21, 2014 10:03 a.m.

HAHAHA JOHN, thanks for educating me on this subject. Funny how, we are keeping a functional ecosystem as lakes and river dry up. I'm sure all the farmers are laughing all the way to the bank to deposit all the profits that they make. You covered all your liberal talking points quite well. Like always your logic has not solved any problems. The key is to maximize profits while protecting the ecosystem at the same time. Which can be done. Just curios, do you maximize profits at your work? Do you use water at your house? Do you drink wine or eat food grown in California? Or do you just sit there and complain about anything possible, pretending to be smarter than everyone else.

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