Mid-American Wine Program Ripe for Growth with Mediasite

September 21, 2009

MADISON, Wis., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — This harvest season, viticulture students from VESTA, an alliance of Midwest colleges and winemaking businesses, are learning the process of turning grapes into wine via online courses. The program uses Mediasite by Sonic Foundry, Inc. (Nasdaq: SOFO), to deliver instruction to students from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

VESTA, the Viticulture Enology Science and Technology Alliance, (www.vesta-usa.org) is funded by the National Science Foundation and is a partnership between eight Mid-American colleges and universities which allocate courses and resources among state agriculture agencies, vineyards and wineries who share a forward-thinking vision for education in grape growing and winemaking. The VESTA schools include Missouri State University in West Plaines, Mo., Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa, Rend Lake College in Ina, Ill., Redlands Community College in Okla., Arkansas Tech University in Ozark, Ark., Highland Community College in Wamego, Kan., Central Lakes College in Brainerd, Minn. and Michigan State University’s Institute for Agricultural Technology, East Lansing, Mich.

“Mid-American states were experiencing 400 to 800 percent growth in the wine and grape industry, but had no way to develop a knowledgeable workforce to support that growth,” said Michelle Norgren, director of VESTA’s regional center. “Mediasite has made us a premier online program for grape and wine education, enabling us to serve the needs of aspiring small business owners.”

VESTA attracts non-traditional students, many of whom are on their way to opening their own wineries or vineyards. Blending online courses with hands-on fieldwork, this unique program partners with vineyards and wineries across the country. Students get complete access to the highest quality grape and wine instruction in their own backyard, whether rural or urban. According to Norgren, just a few years ago those same students would have had to move to the East or West coast to pursue their winemaking career.

VESTA instructors live all over the U.S. and many are not educators by profession. Zoran Ljepovic teaches Enology through VESTA while living in California as a quality control consultant for Constellation Wines U.S. “I’m pleasantly surprised to see how much winemaking is developing in the Midwest. Using Mediasite for lectures means students can get the best education from wine experts wherever they live,” said Ljepovic. “Winemaking is hard work, but in the end you have the pleasure of enjoying a glass of good wine. People are passionate about it.”

“VESTA’s leadership in the growth of this economic sector illustrates the power of online learning via Mediasite,” said Rimas Buinevicius, chairman and CEO of Sonic Foundry. “It is especially rewarding for us at Sonic Foundry to see how our technology is giving clients like VESTA a competitive advantage, helping them not only reach new audiences, but also having such a positive impact on their organizational success.”

About Sonic Foundry(R), Inc.

Sonic Foundry (NASDAQ: SOFO, www.sonicfoundry.com) is the global leader for rich media webcasting and knowledge management, providing enterprise communication solutions for more than 1,500 customers in education, business and government. Powered by Mediasite, the patented webcasting platform which automates the capture, management, delivery and search of lectures, online training and briefings, Sonic Foundry empowers people to transform the way they communicate. Through the Mediasite platform and its Events Services group, the company helps customers connect a dynamic, evolving world of shared knowledge and envisions a future where learners and workers around the globe use webcasting to bridge time and distance, accelerate research and improve performance.

Product and service names mentioned herein are the trademarks of Sonic Foundry, Inc. or their respective owners.

Certain statements contained in this news release regarding matters that are not historical facts may be forward-looking statements. Because such forward-looking statements include risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to, uncertainties pertaining to continued market acceptance for Sonic Foundry’s products, its ability to succeed in capturing significant revenues from media services and/or systems, the effect of new competitors in its market, integration of acquired business and other risk factors identified from time to time in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SOURCE Sonic Foundry, Inc.

Source: newswire

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