Fruita winemaker wins top awards in competition

Kathy Ondrus, a Fruita woman working on her enology specialization technical certificate at Western Colorado Community College in Grand Junction, has earned top honors in an international competition for amateur winemakers.

Ondrus won the award for the grand champion wine and also was named winemaker of the year in a competition organized by Winemaker Magazine. Ondrus is the first amateur winemaker to win the two highest awards in the same year.

Competing against nearly 2,300 entrants, Ondrus won the grand champion wine for her Muscat Canelli. She brought home seven gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze medal for her wines.

Ondrus said she became an amateur winemaker after she and her husband traveled to Napa Valley in California several years ago. She said she hopes to soon build her own winery.

The enology specialization technical certificate is part of the viticulture and enology program at WCCC. The curriculum is designed to give students the entrepreneurial and technical skills necessary to manage a vineyard or winemaking business. A division of Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, WCCC offers more than 20 skills-based associate degree programs.