New York state wines, food and agriculture—along with RIT—share center stage in a innovative, collaborative effort involving the School of International Hospitality and Service Systems' Hospitality and Tourism Management Department, Constellation Brands, Wegmans and the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. Hospitality and Tourism Management leads the consortium's educational component and hosts classes at the center.
The two-story, 19,000-square foot facility, located on three acres on South Main Street (Route 332) overlooking Canandaigua Lake in Ontario County, educates consumers about New York wines and foods and offers training for employees in the food, wine, hospitality, health and nutrition industries.
In its role administering the center's educational component, the Hospitality and Tourism Management Department created a concentration of courses that can be taught at the center or in a "blended" format (online and face-to-face). Eric Wendorff, a Wegmans chef, joined the Hospitality and Tourism Management faculty, as a visiting scholar, to design and instruct culinary and food management courses in food preparation techniques, new technologies, health-related issues and New York state foods. Students have also used the space for collaborative efforts including working on research for Dove Chocolate. RIT students are also offered co-ops at the center.
The center includes classroom space, a 50-seat, theater-style demonstration kitchen, a hands-on training kitchen, a wine tasting room, an exhibit hall, a retail center, a private dining room, and an outdoor garden. Given the synergy and collaboration found at the center, the New York Wine and Grape Foundation has relocated its headquarters and administrative offices from Penn Yan, N.Y., to the center.