Local winemaking class overflowing in demand

Local winemaking class overflowing in demand
SEATTLE -- Amid the sour economic climate and high costs of tuition at four-year colleges, one program is overflowing at South Seattle Community College.

And it's easy to see why. The class is focused on the art of winemaking.

Students pick, crush and bottle at Western Washington's only teaching winery. Enrollment has doubled this year, drawing everyone from paralegals to even doctors.

"By day I'm a dentist. And by night I'm learning to be a winemaker," said Kit Singh.

Even a retired gynecologist has found his new baby.

"You take something that's growing, like grapes and babies, and take them them through the entire process to maturity," said Gil Anderson.

Vineyards donate all the grapes so students can study winemaking, wine marketing and food pairing.

Many of the students said they found their new passion after losing their jobs.

"I was the newest man on the list and they said, 'Have a nice day and move on,'" said John Leonetti.

Unlike many other businesses, Washington's wine industry is lush.

"There's over 600 wineries now and because we're number two in the country for production, we really see a need," said Regina Daigneault.

There is a need for qualified connoisseurs in the field. And the students' studies and passion could lead to better Washington wines.