Donation to NCSU to boost wine-making research

Posted July 6, 2009 3:56 p.m. EDT

— The owners of western North Carolina vineyard and gated residential community have agreed to donate land valued at $16.1 million to North Carolina State University, officials said Monday.

The gift will fund an endowed faculty position, an apprenticeship and a Cooperative Extension Service program endowment, all focused on viticulture and oenology, the two sciences of wine-making.

“The new positions and programs made possible by this gift will have the potential to play a major role in accelerating the growth of the state’s burgeoning wine and grape industry,” Johnny C. Wynne, dean of N.C. State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said in a statement.

The Cellars at Betty’s Creek, is an exclusive 600-acre gated community with 33 home sites in a vineyard setting. The development also will produce privately labeled wines.

Christopher Collins, John McNeill, and Fred and Nancy Cline own the development. The Clines also work with Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in Sonoma, Calif., to oversee wine production.

The Cline Cellars Distinguished Professorship in Viticulture and Oenology will support a scholar in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to contribute to the field of viticulture and oenology through applied research and extension programs.

The Cline Cellars Viticulture/Oenology Apprenticeship and Internship Endowment will fund the activities of a graduate student working in the area of viticulture and oenology.

The Cline Cellars Viticulture, Oenology and Horticulture Endowment for Cooperative Extension will be used to support extension agents in Jackson and surrounding counties who will work with the professor and extension specialists in the areas of viticulture, oenology, organic fruits and vegetables, food science, soil science, crop science, plant pathology and entomology.