It’s just the beginning for SU

Schreiner university students Ames Miller and Jacquelyn Sotello,  from left, assist a guest at the Pop Up Wine Tasting event held recently at the university’s Weston House as part of the collaborative effort between Schreiner and Kerrville Hills Winery to create a working vineyard and wine-making curriculum.

Schreiner University students learned a lot about winemaking in a course offered in partnership with Kerrville Hills Winery, between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, that culminated in a campus pop-up tasting event.

Kerrville Hills Winery Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Hagemeier — who alongside proprietor and winemaker John Rizenburgh purchased the property at the end of 2019 — said she first began talks with Schreiner a year ago about putting in a vineyard on campus property and offering a class on campus.

“It’s on the back side of campus where the biology building is (and) where they host their star parties,” Hagemeier said.

She said the class was conceived of as a special course between Thanksgiving and Christmas — an extra opportunity for students to get credit from a pass/fail class (other options offered by the school were a drone class and a sailing class).

“We had seven students and we taught them what we do at a winery, we took them on tours of different vineyards and different tasting rooms, and our end project was having a pop-up tasting room at the Weston House,” Hagemeier said. The physical address of the tasting, held Dec. 12, Dec. 15 and 16 on Schreiner’s campus, was 2100 E. Main Street.

She noted that the students came up with the menu, tasted and chose the wines, went through the licensing process, learned about business marketing, customer service and even research and development.

“It was a chance to get them acquainted with the Texas wine industry, which is a $20 billion industry right now,” she added.

The Kerrville Hills Winery was founded in 2008, though Hagemeier and Rizenburgh purchased it in 2019.

Students enjoyed the course, especially taking “field trips” to different local wineries where owners explained their processes, said Schreiner University senior and marketing major Jacquelyn Sotello. They also gained valuable marketing and management experience planning the pop-up tasting event.

“The event was nice — subtle, classy,” Sotello said. “It was a great way to learn the steps it takes to get something to market.”

She said she and her classmates felt they were given free range to be creative with how they envisioned the event.

“I’m a senior marketing major with a minor in finance, and it was a truly hands-on experience,” Sotello added.

She said she learned of the course from another professor during an entrepreneurship course she was taking. Schreiner junior and Business Management major Matthew Rendon also found out about the class from two of his business professors who encouraged him to sign up.

“I decided to take the course when I found out that we would be in control of the whole process and we would be able to market everything and coordinate the event on our own,” Rendon said.

He said he learned not only about winemaking and pairing, but also how to market, budget and coordinate an event.

For the wine tasting, all students participated, Rendon said, offering four wines (two reds and two whites) for the tasting and a charcuterie board to guests.

Rendon was tasked with marketing the event and appeared on local radio stations and created posters and flyers.

“We had a very calm and peaceful environment for people to hang out and enjoy some awesome wine,” Rendon said.

But it was also well attended, added fellow student Sotello. “We were going through 25 to 45 bottles a night.”

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