The Lake County Winegrape Commission is beginning its new "Master Vigneron" program which targets vineyard workers, especially foreman and crew hands.

Sessions are being held monthly leading up to the 2012 harvest. The program aims to increase the quality of Lake County grapes by teaching vineyard managers leading viticulture practices. Another goal is to improve vineyard employees' skills and efficiency, with the hope of enhancing their advancement opportunities and improving their pay.

"An interesting component of this program is that it will be largely taught in Spanish making it more accessible to the majority of vineyard workers on which the industry depends," said Shannon Gunier, president of the Lake County Winegrape Commission. "This program ... represents an investment in a critical piece of the sustainable approach — human capital."

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