Seth DeBolt, Director of the Distillation, Wine and Brewing Studies Certificate Program

Seth DeBolt

Seth DeBolt, . Dr. DeBolt earned his PhD by discovered how grapes make their unique acid, which enables flavor and aging complexity. More recently, he works on the flavors and processes that occur during bourbon aging. He is program director and teaches Wine, Brewing and Distillation Science. 

Bert Lynn, Co-Director of the Distillation, Wine and Brewing Studies Certificate Program

Bert Lynn, Dr. Lynn is an analytical chemist with a wealth of experience in mass spectrometry. He has published over 100 papers on the subject and teach Spirit Chemistry dedicated to the chemical basis of fermentation.  

Czarena Crofcheck, Instructor: Brewing Science and Technology

Czarena Crofcheck, Dr. Crofcheck is a professor in the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department (BAE). Her research area focusses on bioprocessing, downstream processing, and development of value-added products. She co-teaches a fermentation class (BAE 549) where students learn about the complexity of fermentation organisms and the food engineering processes that are required for the production of safe and healthy foods. Outside of her career she has been touring and studying breweries, distilleries, and wineries for over 20 years. Within DWBS, she teaches AEN 341 Brewing Science and Technology. This class includes topics including beer history, beer production, beer marketing, and beer appreciation.

Jason Swanson, Instructor: Beer, Wine and Spirits Tourism - Principles and Practice

Jason Swanson's ( professional experience consists of hotel operations, market/feasibility analysis, hospitality real estate advisory services, and tourism development.  He has worked for consulting clients in the restaurant, hotel, spa, convention center, marina, golf course, and government sectors in over 50 markets throughout the United States, the Caribbean, and Asia. 

Jason has a Masters of Management from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and a Ph.D. in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from North Carolina State University.  Jason is an Assistant Professor in the Retailing and Tourism Management Department at the University of Kentucky, where he teaches classes on tourism trends and tourism planning.  He is also an adjunct graduate faculty member at Assumption University in Bangkok, Thailand, leading an annual Ph.D. seminar in strategic tourism planning.

He conducts research on community-based tourism development, tourism trade association management, and tourism policy advocacy.  He also co-authored a textbook titled Tourism Policy and Planning: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.  The second edition of the book will was released in 2013.  In 2012, he was named to the inaugural class of Forty for the Future, a national program recognizing tourism’s leading talent under the age of 40. 

Michael Barrett, Instructor: Wine Appreciation

Mike Barrett, Dr. Barrett is a weed scientist by training but his true love is wine appreciation. He is trained to teach the history and concept process of wine appreciation. He teaches wine appreciation in the fall and spring. 

Jeff Wheeler, Instructor: Intro. to Viticulture and Intro. to Enology

Jeff Wheeler, Dr. Wheeler is our resident winemaker and teaches introductory classes for viticulture and winemaking. He works closely with industry as an extension specialist and brings a wealth of knowledge to every class. 

Laura Walther, Instructor: A&S 306 Spirit Chemistry

Laura Walther

Dr. Walther is an analytical chemist with 15 years of experience
teaching chemistry. After recently earning her doctoral degree working with Dr. Bert Lynn in research, she agreed to help him translate his Spirit Chemistry class into an online format. Dr. Walther relished the opportunity to expand her teaching experience and enjoys the ability to share the chemistry of fermentation and distillation with online students.

Brad Berron, Instructor: Bourbon Production Engineering

Brad BerronBrad Berron,, Dr. Berron is a chemical engineer and focused on decoding distillation. He teaches distillation in his undergraduate classes and collaborates with local craft distilleries on key research questions. See his interests at

Sarah Wilson, Instructor: Bourbon Production Engineering

Sarah Wilson,, is an assistant profession in the University of Kentucky's Chemical and Materials Engineering Department.

Janice Fernheimer, Instructor: Craft Writing

Janice W. Fernheimer,, is associate professor of writing, rhetoric, and digital studies and the Zantker Charitable Foundation Professor and director of Jewish studies at the University of Kentucky. She is the author of Stepping into Zion: Hatzaad Harishon, Black Jews, and the Remaking of Jewish Identity (University of Alabama Press, 2014), the coeditor of Jewish Rhetorics: History, Theory, Practice (Brandeis University Press, 2014), and co-founder and organizer of the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project housed at the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral history.

The Jewish Kentucky Oral History Project currently includes 101 interviews and continues to grow, and a set of interviews focus specifically on Jewish involvement in the Kentucky bourbon industry. In collaboration with author/illustrator JTWaldman, she is currently researching and writing a transmedia project (historical fiction web comic and podcast series), America’s Chosen Spirit, based on oral histories and archival materials that detail the influences of Jews, women, African Americans, and immigrants on the Kentucky bourbon industry.

You can read more about that project here: 

She teaches a section of WRD 225: Craft Writing focused on Writing Bourbon/Rectifying the Record, and you find the class website and syllabus here.

Jeff Rice, Instructor: Craft Writing

Jeff Rice, Dr. Rice is Chair and Martha B. Reynolds Professor in Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies (,, Be a whiskey, craft beer or a wine, every product needs a story. Dr. Rice pioneers the complex subject of developing the story that goes with a product and getting it to the right audience in our modern era of social media. He organized the international Craft Writing conference and has written multiple books and peer reviewed articles on this subject. He teaches craft writing.   

Rachel Schendel, Instructor: Food Fermentation

Rachel Schendel,, is an Assistant Professor in the University of Kentucky's Department of Animal and Food Sciences. Her research interests are as follows: 

  • Structural analysis of plant cell wall carbohydrates
  • Relationship between carbohydrate structure and fermentation / digestion behavior
  • Development of novel sources of prebiotics as food ingredients
  • Utilization of agricultural and food processing waste products

Surendranath Suman, Instructor: Sensory Evaluation of Foods

Surendranath Suman,, is a professor in the University of Kentucky's Department of Animal and Food Sciences. His research interests are as follows: 

  • Proteomics of meat quality
  • Myoglobin chemistry and meat color
  • Novel strategies to improve meat quality 

Rodney Andrews, Program Affiliate

Rodney Andrews, Dr. Andrews is the director of the Center for Applied Energy Research and has spent a decade examining fermentation of complex substrates into alcohol. As a chemical engineer he is actively involved in whiskey research and development questions. 

Vanessa Jackson, Program Affiliate

Vanessa Jackson, Dr. Jackson is chair of HES Tourism and Hospitality Management. She and Merideth Moody of Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort Kentucky are teaching Kentucky Bourbon Tourism.

Christine Trinkle, Program Affiliate

Christine Trinkle, A Mechanical Engineer, Dr. Trinkle studies ways to improve analytical procedures for winemakers, distillers and brewers.

Patsy Wilson, Program Affiliate

Patsy Wilson, Dr. Wilson is our resident viticulturalist (the study of wine grape production). Her research looks at climatic tolerance of grapes for the Kentucky climate to help growers and producers alike.