MOUNT Lilydale Mercy College students launched their 2017 vintage last month.

Students in winemaking

MOUNT Lilydale Mercy College students launched their 2017 vintage last month.

McAuley Park, the College farm, prepares students for a range of agriculture careers, including winemaking.

Each year the agriculture students prune the vines growing on college grounds, sample and pick the grapes and make their own wine.

They then bottle and label the wine and make it available for sale.

Senator Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Mrs Suzanne Halliday, from the Yarra Valley food and wine industry and Mr Andrew Santarossa, chief judge Victorian Wine Show joined guests and members of the local agricultural community to launch the 2017 student made wine at the college.

School initiative

The winemaking program is an initiative of teacher Tim Thompson who has a background in viticulture and winemaking.

“I began making wine with the students to broaden the agriculture experience for them and they have absolutely loved it,” he said.

“Over Easter groups of students and parents helped harvest and make the wine – it is a real community event.”

“And given our location on the doorstep of the Yarra Valley, we’ve had amazing support from the local industry – particularly Yering Station who have donated the oak barrels and assisted us with the analysis and winemaking aspects of the process.”

The programme is unique in providing students with an opportunity to engage with all aspects of wine production from pruning to bottling.

Approximately 400kg of grapes were harvested from the 260 vines growing on the college grounds.

A total of 300 bottles were produced which are available for sale at $25 each or $140 for six bottles.

Now in its third year, previous vintages have received silver and bronze medals at the Eltham Wine Show.