Kent Ashtabula wine interns get hands-on work in the field

The Crush House at Gervasi Vineyard & Italian Bistro on June 14, 2017. 

Mariah Melaney

Gervasi Vineyard welcomes Kent Ashtabula wine degree interns to practice the skills they need to graduate.

Most of the associate applied science degrees in enology and viticulture courses require field experience at a vineyard of the student’s choosing, said Danielle Weiser-Cline, an academic adviser at Ashtabula campus.

“They work with a mentor in their area for 16 hours of observation of the mentor and  160 hours in the field where students are of more value to their mentor,” Weiser-Cline said.

Many interns picked Gervasi as their field study winery, which allows them to fulfill multiple requirements, said Andrew Codispoti, winemaker at Gervasi Vineyard.

“Depending on where they are at with the program and what season we are in, the student’s job does vary,” Codispoti said. “One example is during harvest when students will come during one or two days to fill the tank with grapes.”

Weiser-Cline said students must know how to maintain the grapevines and keep them alive.

“You apply the chemistry you learn directly to your hands-on application at the vineyard of your choice,” Weiser-Cline said.

Codispoti said he took a whole Kent State Ashtabula class through a tour and wine testing. For some, it was their first winery experience.

“Gervasi will do whatever we can to accommodate to students,” said Codispoti. “We help whoever wants to enter the business however they can.”

Codispoti explained he wants students to ask questions and avoid assumptions. Safety becomes the most important thing when students intern, he said.

“Here in the winery, there is no sliding to home before touching the rest of the bases,” Codispoti said.

Angel Collins, student at Kent State Ashtabula campus, interns at Gervasi and spent time doing daily lab procedures and making wine.

“I have spent time in the vineyard every week since January,” Collins said. “I have been able to do a great deal of hands on tasks in the vineyard such as pruning, training up new vines and collecting soil samples.”

Collins, who aspires to open her own winery and vineyard, said she enjoys the hands-on experience.

“I am most thankful for the staff at Gervasi for accepting me as a student and for dedicating their time to teach me so much about their jobs,” Collins said.

Mariah Melaney is the regionals reporter, contact her at [email protected]