2011 Rocks to Wine Program Connects Research and Industry
This program is a year-long undergraduate research and internship opportunity which focuses on the research question of how soils ultimately impact wine flavor. Students conduct multi-disciplinary research in geology, plant science and food chemistry.
Student research is conducted with UHD Natural Sciences faculty Dr. L. Morano and Dr. K. Johnson. 2011 students have collected soil, plant and fruit samples from replicate Cabernet Sauvignon vines in four vineyards in the Texas Hill Country. Geochemical analysis of the soils will be compared to plant and fruit chemical compositions. Students have used this fruit to make wine in collaboration with food scientists UH's Conrad Hilton College. Wine chemical compositions will be compared against enological and flavor profiles to understand the role of "terroir" in the taste of Texas wines.
Students in the program enroll in a spring Rocks to Wine science course (BIOL/GEOL 3390) which reviews geology and the science of grapegrowing and winemaking. (This class is open to all science students with the pre-requisites.) After a summer of research and internships students take the course Texas Wine Marketing (MKT4390) from the UHD MMBA department.
Students in this program participate in a paid three week internship. This summer students worked at the Harris County Agrilife Extension Center, Haak Vineyards and Winery, Flat Creek Estate, Becker Vineyards and Driftwood Estate Winery.
Marketing for Texas Wineries
In the marketing courses, Rocks to Wine research students and additional marketing students will build marketing proposals for two Texas Wineries under the supervision of marketing professor Dr. M. Johnson. From nearly 40 survey applications for the free marketing plan this year's two winners are Lone Oak Winery and Saddlehorn Winery.