U.S. Congressman Roy Blunt of Missouri announced last week that Missouri State University's Viticulture and Enology Science & Technology Alliancewill receive a $2.927 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will provide education to community colleges in 12 states through online training courses about the grape and wine industry.
"I'm pleased to announce this critical funding that will help both our grape and wine industry and the economy of southwest Missouri grow," Congressman Blunt says.
"This NSF grant will enable Missouri State University's Viticulture and Enology program to expand and become even more influential for Missouri and all of the Midwest region of the United States," says Missouri State University President Mike Nietzel. "Our faculty and staff, as well as those in the partner institutions, deserve enormous credit."
Dale Law, VESTA executive director, based at Missouri State's West Plains campus, said the program has drawn 270 students from 27 states over the last three years to the only Internet learning program of its kind. Experts in wine and grapes from California, New York and around the nation are able to teach classes.
The scientific research for VESTA is conducted at the Missouri Fruit Experiment Station in Mountain Grove, which is part of Missouri State University system. The grant recognizes the Mountain Grove facility, where scientific research has been practiced for more than a century, as a "regional center of excellence."
Missouri ranks 11th in the nation in wine production.