Students & Winemakers

Wine & Viticulture Technology Degree

With Lake Michigan College, we’re training the next generation of winemakers. We offer an Associate Degree in Wine & Viticulture Technology with classes centered on experiential learning and practice. Our classes take place two days a week at Lake Michigan College, allowing students from Chicago, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, South Bend, and Battle Creek to attend. Click here to see a detailed course list or request more information about the program.

Our work began in 2015 when the Michigan wine industry identified a need for technically trained winemakers.. To meet that need, we started the first commercial teaching winery in the Midwest. Our students get firsthand experience in the art, business, and science of winemaking through a combination of classroom learning and cooperative work in our winery, tasting room, and laboratory.

We teach our students that cooperation, experimentation, and a continual commitment to excellence will grow our wine region. Graduates from our program receive an Associate of Applied Science in Wine & Viticulture Technology and become skilled collaborators who are capable of producing outstanding wines.

We know that the Lake Michigan Shore American Viticultural Area can stand with the great wine regions of the world – we are proud to train the region’s future winemakers and grow our collective future.

Lake Michigan Vintners Staff

Michael Moyer – Program Director

Michael Moyer has crafted Old Vine Zinfandel in Amador County, Sonoma County Chardonnay, Carneros Pinot Noir, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington Riesling, and Walla Walla Sangiovese. Now, he guides our wines – and wine program – in the Lake Michigan Shore AVA.

Prior to joining Lake Michigan College, Michael worked with Figgins Family Wine Estates in Walla Walla, Washington where he crafted a variety of wines for the esteemed Leonetti label, as well as Doubleback, Figgins, and Toil Oregon. He also worked with famed California brands Etude and Peter Michael Winery.

Michael was instrumental in developing the Enology & Viticulture program at Walla Walla Community College. He has mentored dozens of students throughout the years, who are now a part of the fabric of the wine industry nationally and internationally.

Amy Birk – Enologist

Amy grew up in Berrien County and was the Enologist at Domaine Berrien for five years. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Marquette University and is also a graduate of the Lake Michigan College Wine & Viticulture Trades Program.

Amy teaches several lecture courses and directs the winery and lab cooperative courses.

Becca Sonday – Program Assistant

Becca grew up in Southwest Michigan and brings a wealth of experience from working in orchards and vineyards for most of her life. Becca has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Michigan and has worked in agriculture (and agricultural extension) in Illinois, California, Michigan, Argentina, and Paraguay. Becca also ran a cidery for several years, managed a tasting room, worked for the Pokagon Band Department of Natural Resources, and led an organic farm before coming to Lake Michigan College.