A third-year student in Brock University’s Oenology and Viticulture program has been recognized as a Rising Star in the wine industry.
Doch Dendy was the recipient of the 2019 RBC Niagara Wine Rising Star Award, receiving a $1,000 bursary at the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival to continue his education.
Presented at the festival’s RBC reception Friday, Sept. 20, the award recognizes top individuals currently pursuing an education in the wine industry.
“It feels fantastic to show that I am able to make a contribution to the grape and wine industry and show how much Brock has contributed to me, as a student, to help me succeed,” said Dendy. “It is a real honour to be recognized in front of my peers.”
The Brockville native with a passion for science originally decided to pursue Brock’s Bachelor of Science degree, but said he was quickly drawn to the Oenology and Viticulture program.
“I had very little knowledge about wine, not knowing the difference between red and white, but it has blossomed into an absolute passion of mine,” said Dendy, who has succeeded academically in the highly demanding program.
Barb Tatarnic, Manager of Outreach and Continuing Education at Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), said Dendy’s dedication and enthusiasm for the industry is contagious.
“He is thrilled to be a part of this industry and has a real drive to not only support it, but help it grow,” said Tatarnic. “Because of his level of enthusiasm and ability to engage others, he has also worked to mentor new students coming into the program, doing what he can to help guide the next generation coming into this industry.”
Dendy said once he graduates, he hopes to work a little closer to home in Prince Edward County.
“I would like to get into some sort of vineyard position, either as a vineyard manager or a winemaker,” said Dendy. “This program allows me to choose any one of those because of the hands-on co-op opportunities.”
He recently completed a co-op position at Back 10 Cellars in Beamsville, Ont., a smaller operation where he said he was able to learn every aspect of working in a winery.
“As a co-op student, I was the employee with the most hours a week,” said Dendy. “I was able to get my hands on everything, which was such a great opportunity.”
During his co-op, Dendy was able to delve deeper into Back 10 Cellars vineyard practices and use what he has learned to recommend efficiencies and improvements.
“I am thrilled to see Doch’s knowledge, hard work, outgoing nature and passion recognized with this award,” said Debbie Inglis, Director of CCOVI. “He is working hard to be part of the next generation of professionals who will help the grape and wine industry grow and prosper.”
Dendy is also passionate about volunteering his time for wine-related events. He has volunteered for the Cuvée Grand Tasting twice and is volunteering again this year at the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival – Educate your Senses wine and cheese speaker series. He said it is an opportunity to build connections, understand the event platform from a wineries perspective and to practice and build his wine palate.
CCOVI’s Educate Your Senses wine and cheese speaker series continue this weekend with sessions on Saturday, Sept. 28, in St. Catharines in Montebello Park.