Wine generic

A Michigan college is unveiling a $7 million renovation.

It’s a 14-thousand square foot building for teaching classes on making wine.

The building took more than a year to build.

Lake Michigan College was the first school in the Midwest to offer a winemaking program. It’s been in place since 2015.

But students are saying this building is bigger and better than they’ve ever had and they’re hoping it helps drive more business to the area.

"Michigan is supper underrated in the wine community," said Michael Moyer, Director of Wine and viticulture at Lake Michigan College.

Moyer went to school in California, but he came to Lake Michigan College to run the wine program.

"I gotta admit I was a little skeptical at first, I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into," Moyer said.

As part of the interview process, he had the school send him a case of wine to try out first.

"It was fantastic," Moyer said. "I tasted some of them and I thought man if they are making dry red wines like that in southwest Michigan, anything’s possible."

But the college's facilities for the program have been lackluster.

"We had a room and we had to move everything to do anything and we made it work," Moyer said. "But it’s not like this. This place is designed to flow like a winery should flow."

Now they have everything so that you can see the whole process in one place.

There’s also a barrel room, lab, tasting area, and several in-house classrooms.

"I’m excited for working out of a facility that was actually made for winemaking," said Adam McBride, student.

McBride is in his last semester at Lake Michigan College.

He also bought his own winery two years ago and runs it all himself.

"I love the winemaking. I love the fermentation activity, it definitely scratches the artistic itch for me," McBride said. 

He said he’s sad that he won’t get to use the new space for too long, but is excited for potential future students who in the long run will make his business more marketable.

"It’s gonna give some formal education to the talent in this area it’s gonna be a good training for up and coming winemakers," McBride said. "It’s gonna attract and retain talent in this area."

And Moyer agrees.

"The quality it's there, we just need the reputation to improve," Moyer said.

The entire program is 44 credits.

It can be done in a year and a half if you already have a degree or two years if you need to also do general education credits.

Copyright 2019 WSBT via CBS. All rights reserved.

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