The Lake Michigan College Welch Center for Wine and Viticulture Technology provides students the opportunity to learn wine making.
With Southwest Michigan’s roots in agriculture and a recent boom in tourism, Lake Michigan College (LMC) saw opportunities ahead for their community. They understood the much-needed role higher education plays in Michigan’s up-and-coming wine industry and decided it was time to act. This unique project, the LMC Welch Center for Wine and Viticulture Technology, is the first of its kind in the Midwest, and only one of a few in the country, to house a formal program for viticulture education.
Our team provided architectural services for this $7.5 million facility. Consisting of 11,000 square feet, this academic facility is solely dedicated to the education of Southwest Michigan’s future wine makers, marketers, and retailers. The new program concentrates on providing college-level training and education in the business aspects on enology and viticulture with hands-on instruction. The central concept driving the Welch Center design is a commitment to reinterpreting the beautiful simplicity and economy of mid-western agricultural architecture, maximizing the available budget, and embracing an aesthetic appropriate for a winery in the rolling coastal fields of southwest Michigan. The plan is centered by the lobby/commons/wine-tasting area, with instructional spaces to the east and wine-making spaces to the west.
Now complete, the tasting room is already bustling with visitors who can taste 10 different wines professionally presented by students and have a clear view into the teaching winery and barrel room via the artfully placed glass wall. A hub for all things wine in Southwest Michigan, the Welch Center has become a community gathering place for the exchange of ideas and special events.
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