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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : letters May 24, 2016

5/9/2013 1:01:00 PM
Letter: We could not have done it without you


A huge “thank you” to the almost two hundred volunteers from within and without the Verde Valley who turned out to help plant 3,000 new grapevines on the Verde campus in Clarkdale on Saturday!

The volunteers, who worked tirelessly from early morning to late afternoon, added another three acres to the vineyard. There are now a total of seven acres of vines under cultivation on the campus.

The volunteers were made up of college and high school students, college faculty and administrators, corporate teams, and citizens who came from as far away as Phoenix to be a part of the planting.

The on-going viticulture project is a result of a shared vision of local winemakers, former Verde campus Dean Tom Schumacher, and the Board members of the Greater Verde Valley Chapter of the Yavapai College Foundation, all of whom worked closely together for several years to persuade Yavapai College to consider establishing a Southwest Wine Center on the Verde campus.

Despite fiery opposition in some quarters to such a project, and claims now shown to be totally without substance that grapevines would never grow in the soil on the Verde campus, the College moved somewhat timorously forward with an experimental one acre plot a little over two years ago.

That was followed by expanding the vineyard to three acres last year and adding another three acres this year.

The project is modeled after extremely successful programs developed at community colleges in California and the state of Washington. If carried to completion over the next few years, the Yavapai College viticulture project on the Verde campus has the potential of bringing many new jobs and putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy of the greater Verde Valley. It also has the potential of making the Verde campus the center of science and technology for the entire state of Arizona wine industry.

So far, the viticulture project has been funded and developed through grants, contributions and the sweat equity of hundreds of volunteers. The outpouring of support for this project is extremely gratifying!

Robert Oliphant

Yavapai College District #3 Governing Board Representative

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

Right! This is all so exciting. Many thanks to all the forward-looking people who've dedicated so much thought and effort to making it happen.

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Article comment by: Great news! -

Great to see some positive happenings in the area. As a bonus the viticulture program seems have become a positive outlet for talents otherwise wasted in other pursuits!

Everybody wins!

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