Napa Valley College will break ground in November on the first phase of the Wine Education Complex, with a state-of-the-art education facility where students will learn viticulture and winemaking best practices grounded in the latest science, preparing them to serve the community and gain successful employment in Napa Valley’s dominant industry, NVC President and Superintendent Torence Powell announced today.

“We can’t wait to get the shovels in the ground and start work on this wonderful new educational resource for our valley,” Powell said. Phase 1 of the Complex, the Wine Spectator Wine Education Center, was generously funded by a $10 million donation from Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation. Additional funds were provided by a donation from the estate of Evelyn Allen. It includes a 7,000-square-foot facility with two flexible sensory classrooms; a wine and grape analysis laboratory; instructor offices; storage; and rest rooms. The sensory classrooms incorporate the latest technologies in acoustic and lighting design to provide an immersive educational experience. The Center is expected to open in Fall 2024.

Artist’s rendering of the Wine Education Complex at Napa Valley College. Groundbreaking is slated for November, with a Phase I opening expected in Fall 2024.

While work continues on Phase 1, the College and its nonprofit Napa Valley College Foundation will focus on a $4 million campaign to fund Phase 2 of the Complex, a nearly 2,000-square-foot Hospitality Training Center. The Center will include a “marketing lab” with flexible space that will be used for marketing courses offered by the College’s Viticulture, Wine and Technology program, as well as hospitality courses from the Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Management program.

With a centralized industry and education focus, the training will encompass all aspects of wine hospitality, including tastings, wine club membership and tasting room management skills. The program will accommodate those already working in the industry by offering evening and Saturday classes, as well as distance (online) learning.

“The VWT program at Napa Valley College is at ground zero for offering hands-on experience to those looking to further their education in the wine industry,” said Michael Baldacci, director of Winemaking and Vineyards at Baldacci Family Vineyards. “The commitment from the teacher and student interaction is unlike any other learning experience for this industry. You leave the program ready to work in your desired field of interest.”

Baldacci is in a unique position to comment, as a Foundation Board member, a graduate of the VWT program and a current student, as he enrolls in classes to keep his considerable skills fresh.

The campaign to fund the Hospitality Training Center offers several participation levels and naming options available to donors. The campaign already has accepted donations from Doug Shafer of Shafer Vineyards and from Foundation Board member Donna Altes.

“With its schedule of evening classes, the program ensures accessibility for students currently employed in wineries, allowing them to enhance their skill sets while continuing their professional journey,” Shafer said. “Moreover, the program’s remarkable job placement record ensures successful employment and a thriving, growing wine-producing community.”

For more information about the Hospitality Training Center and donor opportunities, contact Foundation Executive Director Jessica Thomason at [email protected] or call (707) 256-7509.