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Pellissippi State students plant grapes at 'research vineyard' at Blount County campus

Officials said several classes focused on plant biology will use the vineyard to learn about how plants grow and thrive in the soil.

BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. — Students at Pellissippi State Community College started planting grapes Friday as part of their work to create a new "research vineyard" used by students across the college.

The vineyard was planted in Blount County and will be used by students learning how to conduct soil analyses, as well as plant science students. They said it is the only research vineyard in the state.

They planted two varieties of grapes to evaluate how well they do in Tennessee. Those kinds of grapes are called "no-spray" varieties and are meant to be disease-resistant, according to officials from Pellissippi State Community College.

"Our soil science class, we got some here today, they'll be doing a soil analysis," said Dr. Chris Milne, a professor with Pellissippi State Community College "Plant science class and botany, they'll be doing leaf tissue analysis. And all these students will get their freshmen or sophomore years of college."

Milne said it will likely take a few years for the plants to grow fruit. He also said he didn't rule out the possibility of wine-making classes in the future.