New wine and vineyard at Surry Community College

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DOBSON, N.C. -- For a college that has won several medals at wine competitions, winemaker and instructor David Bower is excited about the latest wine creation at Surry Community College.

"It will be great,” Bower said. “People will love it and I think it's special. [It is] something that will bring in more from the wine program and incorporate that into the college."

Just in time for Surry Community College's 50th anniversary, the Viticulture and Enology program is producing its first sparkling wine. In a few months, faculty and staff at the college will receive the specially marked bottles of sparkling wine.

Surry Community College is also looking forward to working in its new five-acre vineyard. Science Division Chair Ashley Myers says the new vineyard will prepare students for careers in winemaking or vineyard management.

"We experiment with a lot of things because we want our students to learn each technique,” she said. “They will use them at their first jobs.”

According to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the wine and grape industry generates over $1 billion and supports over 7,000 jobs.