A rare program with an extraordinary reputation and history
Grayson College’s Viticulture & Enology program is one of the few degreed grape growing and wine making programs in the country, and the first of its kind in a Texas community college. GC’s timely offering of the program corresponds with the growing popularity of vineyard and winery operations in the southwest United States.
History plays an important role in the Viticulture & Enology program at Grayson College. The program was introduced in 1974, but the foundation from which the program has emerged was laid in 1876 when Thomas Volney Munson arrived in Denison, Texas, to begin a career in grape research which was to last a lifetime. Grayson County became T.V. Munson’s home after his first visit to the area when he stated, “I have found my grape paradise!” It must surely have been true for he spent the remaining years of his life in the area developing three hundred superior grape varieties from the wild native grapes along the bluffs of the Red River and its tributaries.
Facilities and location
The GC Viticulture & Enology Center rests on five acres of land on the College’s West Extension. The Center’s hilltop view overlooks the T.V. Munson Memorial Vineyard. The Viticulture and Enology Program is housed in this Center, which contains a large classroom, an extensive wine laboratory, and an instructional winery. Just down the hill from the T.V. Munson Center is the T.V. Munson Memorial Vineyard which is planted to 3 acres of various grape varieties including over 65 of the original varieties bred by T.V. Munson, and other hybrid and vinifera grapes. Both the vineyard and the winery serve as an excellent learning tool for students in the Viticulture and Enology Program.
As a repository and research site, the Viticulture and Enology Center and the GC Foundation’s Heritage Center house (located in Denison) house an extensive set of written materials related to viticulture and enology. Among these documents are historical materials written about, and by, T.V. Munson regarding the breeding of grapes native to this area of the world.
T.V. Munson’s original home, Vinita, in Denison has been made into a museum through the work of the GC Foundation and the Munson family.
Classes and seminars offer flexibility in learning this unique trade
The Viticulture and Enology Program offers the convenience of Internet instruction combined with weekend class meetings. A typical 3 credit hour course meets two weekends (Saturday & Sunday) a semester and the remainder of the course material is delivered through Canvas, Grayson’s Internet teaching platform. This format accommodates those who cannot commit to traditional weekday classes without sacrificing hands-on winemaking and grape growing.
The Program periodically offers one-day outreach seminars and workshops at various locations across the state. These programs focus topics of specific interest to the grape and wine industry, as well as programming that’s geared toward new and future industry members.
Many of the courses in the Viticulture and Enology program may be taken for non-credit through the Grayson College Continuing Education division.
Leading the new trend in the Craft Beverage industry
Grayson College’s Viticulture and Enology program is a founding partner in the region’s Texoma Craft Beverage initiative, which was formed to make the Texoma region world-renowned for its excellence in wine, brewing and distillation, as well as ancillary industries in viticulture and fermentation. Partners in this endeavor include Grayson College, the Sherman Economic Development Corporation, the Denison Development Alliance, and is supported through the work of the Texoma Council of Governments, the cities of Sherman and Denison, and the area’s craft beverage industry professionals. Learn more at www.texomacraftbeverage.com.