That’s why she traveled from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to receive her AAS in Enology from Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) on May, 17, 2014.
Bradford, a native of Nashville, Tenn., is self-employed as a sommelier and wine consultant at Red & White Vines, in Fort Lauderdale. She received her sommelier certification in Umbria, Italy, with the Associazione Italiana Sommeliers in December 2009.
She found the Viticulture Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA) website. “After learning more about the VESTA program, I decided to enroll. Before applying and during my enrollment process, Michelle Norgren (VESTA director), Carrie Crews (past VESTA coordinator for Missouri) and Emily Grey (VESTA student support) were very helpful by answering quite a few questions for me. Since they were directly affiliated with Missouri State University, I chose MSU-WP as my parent school.”
“Because the program spans across a number of colleges and universities from the east coast to the west coast, it provides an uncanny opportunity to meet and network with members of the wine and higher learning communities that one would not quite have attending classes at a single institution. The workshops and practicums were a very necessary and welcomed part of the learning process for me,” she explained.
She admitted the online program was a bit challenging at first. “I did miss the dialog and conversation that takes place in a live classroom setting, but I welcomed the flexibility of having my online learning environment just a click away, as well as quick e-mail access to my professors,” she said. “At the time I enrolled and throughout my duration, the online program was the best fit for my family and me.”
Her family’s support was another reason she participated in the commencement ceremony. “I think that every educational accomplishment should be recognized and celebrated, so it was very important for me to be present for the commencement ceremony and hear my name and my degree announced. It was equally as important for me to share that moment with my family and for them to see me in full regalia accepting my degree, for they also have been very instrumental throughout this process.”
Yanique believes the education she received will help her in every aspect of her career. “While I am a scientist at heart, I also maintain a passion for educating people about wine. Now, I feel I am able to mesh the science of winemaking with the art of tasting to help people in the industry and consumers gain a better understanding of wine,” she said.
Yanique is continuing her studies of the VESTA program, and completing MSU-WP’s AAS in Viticulture. “I do feel my enology degree has better prepared me for my future endeavors. . . I still feel I have so much more to learn, but having earned my degree and having the knowledge that comes along with it will help me to have a better standing in the wine industry and will, hopefully, make career opportunities more available to me.”
“I highly recommend VESTA for prospective students who are interested in a formal higher education about enology or viticulture. I highly recommend MSU-WP as a parent school. The administration and staff were always so helpful and accommodating, working with me as an out-of-state student. As for commencement, I would not have missed it!”