Press Release: Lake County Winegrape Commission Educates and Inspires as Master Vigneron Academy® Marks 10 Years

Innovative MVA program continues to educate workforce of today while the new Cultivate program inspires future workers

Kelseyville, Calif. March 1, 2022 – In Lake County, a rugged, rural farming community in Northern California, winegrape growers invest not just in the soil and the vines but in the long-term success of the people. Their commitment to the Lake County wine industry and its people has led to programs like the Master Vigneron Academy® and Cultivate, which educate the workforce of today and inspire the workforce of tomorrow.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Master Vigneron Academy, an innovative program that supports the professional development of Spanish-speaking vineyard supervisors. Started in 2012 by the Lake County Winegrape Commission (LCWC) with support from the region’s winegrowers, the Master Vigneron Academy is the first of its kind in the United States.

An important goal of the program is to institute an industry-wide standard by which a supervisor’s knowledge and achievement are formally recognized and rewarded through completion of an accredited training program leading to the MVA Credential of Master VigneronCM. Over the past 10 years, the MVA program has graduated more than 80 students and has expanded to include a new certificate program for vineyard crew leaders focused on supervisory skills, a new Spanish-language website, and an online library of viticultural videos with Spanish-language captions.

“We’re excited at the growth of the Master Vigneron Academy,” said LCWC President Debra Sommerfield. “The program now supports all levels of in-the-vineyard leadership – from first-time crew leaders to seasoned vineyard supervisors – with classes on leadership topics like communication, conflict resolution, safety, and quality assurance and a range of videos on sustainable viticultural practices.”

With support from the region’s winegrowers, LCWC recently launched two new educational programs – MVA Crew Lead Certificate, a program for first-time vineyard supervisors and crew leaders; and Cultivate, a program for high-school students to discover the wide array of career opportunities in the winegrape industry.

As an extension of the Master Vigneron Academy, the MVA Crew Lead Certificate program addresses training needs of crew leaders and experienced vineyard supervisors. It focuses on leadership, communication, and supervision skills to prepare first-time crew leads and foremen to be successful, effective crew leaders. This program can be supplemented by “Ag Labor Management” seminars to provide additional training and skill-building in leadership and supervisory topics.

The MasterVigneron.org website was created to provide a central resource for growers as well as employees to find information on this training. This bilingual website offers information about upcoming in-person or virtual training, and a video library of short viticulture practices videos that can be viewed as standalone training or used to start conversations with employees.

“Cultivate – Careers in the Winegrape Industry” was created to increase awareness and inspire high school students to consider the many career fields in the winegrape industry. It’s intended to help build the workforce of tomorrow that will be critical to the long-term sustainability of our industry. Through “Cultivate,” students are introduced to careers in viticulture, winemaking, and marketing and sales.

“Education and development of our current and potential workforce is a key part of developing Lake County as a world-class wine region…investing in people within our community has them turn around and invest in us,” said Lake County Farm Bureau Executive Director Brenna Sullivan. LCWC and the Lake County Farm Bureau collaborated to present Cultivate.

In March 2020, the Cultivate program included an in-person seminar attended by 90 students from three Lake County high schools. In 2021 it was a delivered as virtual video series due to restrictions on public gatherings.


About the Lake County Winegrape Commission

Established in 1991, the Lake County Winegrape Commission (LCWC) has been instrumental in developing the Lake County region’s unwavering commitment to farming high-quality winegrapes, promoting the winegrowers’ brand, and creating greater awareness of the region within the wine trade and among wine lovers. Learn more at www.lakecountywinegrape.org.


About the Master Vigneron Academy

In 2012, the Lake County Winegrape Commission established the Master Vigneron Academy® to cultivate a professional workforce of highly skilled and knowledgeable supervisors; and to institute an industry-wide standard by which a supervisor’s knowledge and achievement are formally recognized and rewarded through completion of an accredited training program leading to a certificate. Learn more at www.mastervigneron.org

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