Wine industry group honors community college instructor

Jenne Baldwin-Eaton
Jenne Baldwin-Eaton

Jenne Baldwin-Eaton, a winemaker who teaches a viticulture and enology program at Western Colorado Community College in Grand Junction, has received recognition from a trade group.

Baldwin-Eaton won the “Friend of the Wine Industry Award” from the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology during its annual conference and trade show.

“Jenne has worked tirelessly not only to perfect her own craft but has gone to great lengths as an instructor and as an artisan to advance the interest of viticulture and enology in Colorado,” said Cassidee Shull, executive director of the association. WCCC graduated its first group of students from the program in December.

The trade group of wineries and winegrape growers also presented awards to WCCC students participating in the 2018 amateur winemakers competition. Kathleen Ondrus won two double gold medals, five gold medals, four silver medals, and three bronze medals. Amy May Gekas, Eric Hanby, Rick Lanoue, and Sarah Steele also won awards.

“It’s an honor to get the award. But nothing compares to how rewarding teaching is and seeing students go on to be decorated for their winemaking skills,” Baldwin-Eaton said.

Baldwin-Eaton started her career in winemaking with Plum Creek Cellars in 1994 and for more than 20 years made award-winning wines from Colorado-grown grapes and was involved in all aspects of running a commercial winery.

Brigitte Sundermann, vice president of community college affairs at Colorado Mesa University, said the enology program constitutes an example of efforts at CMU and WCCC to meet the needs of local industries. “Helping grow the local workforce that supports local business is one of the most rewarding parts of my job, and I want to congratulate Jenne for the accomplishment.”