For two days, a group of Tennessee Tech University students sweated in the fields, planting rows upon rows of grape vines at DelMonaco Winery in Baxter, Tenn.
Those grapes may one day be used in one of two wines whose labels bear the TTU Golden Eagle and are named in honor of the university. A portion of the proceeds from the wine is being donated to the TTU Alumni Association.
“Tech is such a vital part of our community and does so much for the community, this is just a way to give back to them,” Barbara DelMonaco, co-owner of the winery, said.
Students also helped design the label and name the two wines. The winery is selling a red, Dulce Nectar Morado and a white, Espiritu de Oro. Translated, the wines are named Sweet Purple Nectar and Golden Spirit.
“Barbara wanted to give this back to the students,” TTU Alumni Association director Tracey Duncan said. “We wanted to have students submit ideas for the label, the name and the artwork.”
Depending on which type of wine, each label bears a gold or purple foil flying eagle and the TTU logo. Both wines have been in development for about a year and university faculty and staff helped select the blends. They are quickly becoming popular, DelMonaco said.
About 10 TTU agriculture students in April came out to help plant a 7-acre field with hundreds of young vines. Though it will take several years before those grapes can be made into wine, they may someday make it into the TTU-inspired vintages.
“I’ve always had an interest in community development,” said Cookeville native Ashley Brady, a recent TTU graduate who got a job at the winery after her time there planting grapes. “Agritourism is something I probably will do in the future because it’s a good way to develop community.”