Page 1






Spreading Our Roots FOUR-POINT GROWTH PLAN WILL NURTURE DEPARTMENT’S BOUNTY IT IS A PLEASURE to update you on the progress of Cal Poly’s Wine and Viticulture Department (WVIT). I arrived here last October from the School of Wine and Spirits Business in Dijon (Burgundy, France), where I was professor of wine marketing. I was appointed to succeed Professor Marianne McGarry Wolf, who did a great job in preparing the department for transitions in teaching, planning the Center for Wine and Viticulture, and developing internationalization and extended education. I, too, plan to continue strengthening these four key areas. In the last two years we have hired two tenure-track assistant professors — Jean Dodson Peterson for viticulture and Federico Casassa for wine-making and sensory analysis. Both have academic training and work experience in viticulture and winemaking. We also hired John Crandall, who has more than 25 years of industry experience. As a full-time lecturer and supervisor of our pilot winery, he will reinforce our Learn by Doing philosophy. This new permanent team — with the support of tenured

Benoit Lecat |


professors William Amspacher, Michael Costello and Marianne McGarry Wolf, and lecturers Shohreh Niku, Adrienne Ferrara and Brian Simas — will help prepare our students for the next challenges facing the wine industry.

program will be reinforced. Some campus programs already exist to send students to Australia for Study Abroad. We would like to

A strong academic curriculum is fundamental to implement our

add additional international field trips.

Learn by Doing philosophy, whether it is in our Trestle Vineyard, pilot winery, or in partnership with local producers to deal with

Our hope is to provide lifelong learning opportunities to those

wine business and compliance issues. The Trestle Vineyard, pulled

who are already involved in the wine industry and are interested

out due to Red Blotch infection, is about to be replanted, thanks

in expanding their wine knowledge in various fields. The

to the generous donation of the Gillespie family and Professor

series of lectures and classes will be extended once the team is

Emeritus Paul Fountain, among others. The pilot winery is about

reinforced with new recruitments.

to be bonded to allow more flexibility in terms of marketing, sales, distribution and compliance. It will also give a more in-depth

To conclude, Cal Poly’s WVIT is unique, since it is the only

Learn by Doing experience in the wine business concentration.

department in the country that integrates the three key aspects

The bonded winery will provide good exercise for the students

of the wine industry in its curriculum for all concentrations:

to analyze the complexity of this industry, just like the animal

viticulture, enology and wine business. All our students learn the

science students benefit from the meat processing center.

basics of all three and concentrate in one of those areas.

Finally, the next step is to build the new Center for Wine and

We look forward to strengthening our program and the wine

Viticulture, which will be part of a wider interdisciplinary center

industry through continued hands-on collaboration with industry.

dedicated to fermentation sciences. Some funds have been raised from generous industry partners. If you have interest in supporting this project, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Once the center is operational, the international exposure of the



Inside 4 Donor Support 6 Events and Activities 10 Studies Abroad 12 Program Update 14 Student Achievement 15 Faculty News 16 Faculty Research 19 Facilities Update

On the Cover A Study Abroad program took wine and viticulture student Justin Trabue to South Australia, where she learned about its wine and viticulture industry. Read about her experiences on pages 10-11.

Vines to Wines Your content suggestions and contributions are welcome. Please contact Carrie South at 805-756-7308 or Project Coordinator: Carrie South Writer: Jo Ann Lloyd Designer: Shirley Howell Editors: University Communications Printer: Journal Graphics



Fruitful Friendships DONORS LEND SUPPORT TO DEPARTMENT, WINE AND VITICULTURE CENTER budget pays for lectures in

ALUMNI, FRIENDS AND A FORMER PROFESSOR have all made significant gifts to the Wine and Viticulture Department and


the classroom, but Cal Poly

the Center for Wine and Viticulture.

Please contact Grant

provides more than that.”

Longtime agriculturalists and Cal Poly alumni Troy and Basia

Fountain’s gift also created

Kirkpatrick, senior

Gillespie pledged $1.2 million toward a viticulture lab planned

director of development,

an endowment to pay for

as part of the Center for Wine and Viticulture. Basia (Business


maintenance costs of the teach-

Administration, ’85) Gillespie’s parents started farming raisins

or 805-756-2173.

ing vineyard for years to come. Bee Sweet Citrus founder

30 years ago in Madera County. The family now also farms

Jim Marderosian and his

almonds, prunes and wine grapes. The couple hope their gift sparks others to give, too. “We are

wife, Michelle, pledged more than $100,000 to three departments

putting our pledge down in the hope of inspiring others to do the

in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental

same,” Troy Gillespie (Business Administration, ’85) said. “It’s our

Sciences, including funds earmarked for the Wine and Viticulture

way of shepherding the dream to a reality.”

Department’s Trestle Vineyard redevelopment project. (See related

Viticulture and fruit science Professor Emeritus Paul Fountain

story, page 12.) The couple both took courses at Cal Poly, their

donated $250,000 to replant six acres of the distressed Trestle

oldest son graduated from Cal Poly, and their two youngest sons

Vineyard and make additional improvements. Fountain oversaw

are studying agricultural systems management at Cal Poly.

the first planting of a three-acre section of the vineyard 30 years

“When I started this company almost 30 years ago, practically

ago. His keen interest in the art of making good wine and the

all of the equipment was mechanical. Today, if you can’t run

science behind cultivating good wine grapes — and his desire for

a computer, you can’t run the equipment,” Marderosian said.

others to learn the same — inspired his donation.

“College graduates have the skill set we rely on, and over the

“Back in those days, we had to beg for money from companies for things like irrigation parts and trellises,” he said. “The state


years, I’ve learned to favor Cal Poly graduates because of their technical training.”

Cal Poly alumni Troy and Basia Gillespie visit their daughter, Courtney, a current wine and viticulture student (opposite). Bee Sweet Citrus founder Jim Marderosian (left) Professor Emeritus Paul Fountain (below, center) with Professor Jean Dodson Peterson and CAFES Dean Andrew Thulin




THE WINE AND VITICULTURE Department’s second annual Industry Mixer was a success, linking more than 60 attending students with internship offers from industry representatives. “It’s great that many received multiple offers,” said lecturer Adrienne Lindsay Ferrara. “That gives students the opportunity to find a good fit that benefits the industry, too.” Ferrara created the annual Industry Mixer as a “casual way for us to put wine industry folks in a room with our students and expedite the hiring process for seasonal internship positions.” Each year a different winery hosts the event. This year about 30 representatives from 14 different wineries and vineyards came out to Chamisal Vineyards in the Edna Valley, Calif., on April 1 to meet and recruit students. Offerings included positions in hospitality — working in tasting rooms and in direct-to-consumer sales initiatives — as well as production jobs in the vineyard and cellar. All positions are paid internships during the summer and fall. “We created the event at the suggestion of Katie Povah, winemaker at Cambria Estate Winery, and Eric Johnson, winemaker at Talley Vineyards,” Ferrara said. Although cellar and harvest work are casual in nature, Ferrara encouraged students to dress up for the mixer, to “keep it professional. You don’t see a lot of people in the wine business dressed formally, but a first impression is important,” Ferrara said. During the year students also get a chance to meet and mingle with industry professionals at events such as The World of Pinot Noir and Hospice du Rhone. “They pour wines and connect with industry representatives and wine enthusiasts,” Ferrara said. “A Cal Poly booth at these events provides visibility and an opportunity to mobilize our presence in the industry.”


Companies seeking Cal Poly interns can post their job openings on our website at: internships.html. Those interested in attending next year’s mixer should contact Adrienne Ferrara at no later than March 2017. Students need to make plans to take fall quarter off or to adjust their class schedules accordingly.

2016 PARTICIPATING COMPANIES: THANK YOU! Ancient Peaks Winery Center of Effort Chamisal Vineyards J. Lohr Vineyard & Wines Joel Gott Wines La Fenetre Wines Monterey Pacific

Niner Wine Estates O’Neill Vintners & Distillers Stephen Ross Wine Cellars Talley Vineyards Tantara Winery Turley Wine Cellars Vineyard Production Services

Students Michelle Valovcin (left) and McKenna Brennan attended this year’s event at Chamisal Vineyards in the Edna Valley.

Far left: Both current and graduated club members attended the 2016 Unified Wine Symposium (far left). This year’s club members learned how to use a new grafting machine with Professor Jean Dodson Peterson (left). Field trips, such as one to Vintage Nursery (below), offer real-world insight.

Beyond The Classroom VINES TO WINES CLUB ACTIVITIES ARE FUN AND EDUCATIONAL By Nick Paiva, Social Chair 2016-17

In 2015-16, the club led a contingent of

officer team aims to demonstrate to

students to the Unified Wine Symposium,

others on campus and in the community

coordinated and executed the 21st annual

how passionate its members are about

Winemaker Dinner and Auction (see pages

wine, the industry, the Wine and

8-9), and became more of a family.

Viticulture Department, and Cal Poly.

Its tradition of inviting industry

The members of the Vines to


leaders from throughout California

Wines club come from a variety of

made incredible strides this past year in

to speak at its biweekly meetings also

concentrations and majors, and it is

capturing the Learn by Doing philosophy

continued. The interest of winemakers,

these unique backgrounds that will

in everything its members do. Club

grape growers, salesmen and professors is

prepare students to face the distinctive

perks include informative region-specific

typically so great that club members have

challenges that the industry will face

tastings and presentations; opportunities

a hard time deciding who to invite.

in the future.

to connect with local industry through

The club’s newly elected executive

We strive to make wine education

guest speakers, field trips and service

board members are committed to

accessible and fun, and we encourage you

events; and fun-filled meetings.

continuing to improve the club. The

to join us on our journey.



Making Merry GUESTS WINE AND DINE AT ANNUAL VINES TO WINES CLUB FUNDRAISER ABOUT 140 PEOPLE GATHERED at Greengate Ranch and Vineyard in San Luis Obispo on March 5 to sample wine, bid on silent and live auction items, and dine on a sumptuous five-course gourmet meal prepared by Taste! SLO — all in support of the Wine and Viticulture Department’s Vines to Wines club. Special guests at the 21st annual Vines to Wines Winemaker Dinner and Auction included Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong and College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental

Wine and viticulture students (above) served guests at the annual Vines to Wines Winemaker Dinner and Auction, held at Greengate Ranch (below). Students (above, from left) are: Charlies Cook, Nicole Berge, Paul Mawdsley and Mack Long, with a server from Taste! SLO.

Sciences Dean Andrew Thulin. Two lucky bidders walked away with a three-night stay in a three-bedroom condominium in Cabo San Lucas and a trip to Augusta, Ga., to attend the 2017 Masters Tournament. Other winning bidders won admission to Tolosa’s Winemaker Dinner, membership in Cal Poly’s Stampede Club, and a fivecourse wine dinner for eight, prepared by chef Ian McPhee of McPhee’s Grill in Templeton, Calif. During the live auction, a “call to cause” raised $10,000 in donations for the Keith Patterson Memorial Fund. The student volunteers did a great job. “The serving staff was professional and a huge help,” said Brynn Bradley, chair of the Winemaker Dinner Committee and a fourth-year enology

student. “The event was organized by students, all of the decorations were put up by students, and the auction baskets were put together by students.” Professor Emeritus Paul Fountain, whose recent generous donation will help rehabilitate the Trestle Vineyard (see related articles, pages 4-5 and 12-13), was an honored guest, and alumni Jeff Owens (Wine and Viticulture, ’05) of Odette Estate Wines and Andrew Jones (Agribusiness, ’03) of Field Records Wine were the featured winemakers. (See related articles on opposite page.) Wines from Odette Estate and Field Records were paired with the multi-course dinner.

t JEFF OWENS: MAKING HISTORY, ONE VINTAGE AT A TIME When Jeff Owens (Wine and Viticulture, ’05) scored a perfect 100 points from renowned wine critic Robert Parker in October 2014, Owens made history — not once, not twice, but three times. “My colleagues keep reminding me that we had three firsts that year,” Owens said. “It was the first time in history that a firstyear winemaker, an inaugural release for a winery, and a screw-cap wine received 100 points. It was beyond my wildest dreams.” Since taking over as winemaker at Odette Estate Winery in 2012, he has garnered major awards. The award-winning wines are the result of Owens caring deeply about what he does. Alumnus Andrew Jones (above) sources grapes from 25 vineyards. Alumnus Jeff Owens (below, right) with Department Head Benoit Lecat at the Vines to Wines Winemaker Dinner and Auction

“I love everything about being a winemaker. I get to mix up my day, visit vineyards, taste blends, build budgets, talk shop with my colleagues, and always learn something new,” he said. He appreciates wines with “depth, length and energy,” especially cabernet sauvignon.

TWO ALUMNI AND THEIR WINES HONORED AT WINEMAKER DINNER s ANDREW JONES: FROM FOOTBALL FIELD TO VINEYARD Self-proclaimed city boy Andrew Jones (Agribusiness, ’03) sort of stumbled into viticulture when he accepted an internship at Gallo of Sonoma during his fourth year at Cal Poly. “That internship solidified my decision to go into the vineyard and winery business,” said Jones, who came to Cal Poly

“It is the one varietal that has the potential to possess the ultimate combination of power and finesse, displaying tremendous depth, layers, density and power yet feeling light on its feet,” Owens said. “It takes on the character of where it’s grown, displaying different traits even within the same vineyard.” Owens went into winemaking because it offers a lifetime of learning and constant challenges, and he said Cal Poly helped him get where he is. “Cal Poly helped mold me into a well-rounded winemaker. I love the broad diversity in classes that combine business, marketing, viticulture and enology. To be successful, you have to have an understanding for all.”

to play football. It was a good decision. Wine Enthusiast magazine designated Jones as one of America’s Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers in 2015. Jones has been working in the grapevine rootstock business at Sunridge Nurseries since 2003 and as the proprietor at Field Recordings Wine in Paso Robles since 2007. With grapes that he procures from 25 different vineyards, he produces wines “in the way that best suits the vineyard where the grapes were grown.” He produces several varietals, including cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and chenin blanc, but mostly makes unique blended wines from fruit grown throughout the Central Coast. “I like everything we make — and we make everything — but I think pinot noir is the coolest wine,” Jones said. “I enjoy its history and all of its nuances.” Winemakers in general perform a variety of tasks, depending on the time of year, and Jones especially likes that “no two days are alike.” The married father of four admits, though, that there are some tough times, too. “Certain times of the year there is so much going on, and I’m away from my family for long stretches,” he said. “But it’s a fun business, and I plan to work hard to maintain and sustain it far into the future.”





HIRD-YEAR WINE AND VITICULTURE student Justin Trabue was among a group of 22 Cal Poly students who turned winter into summer by spending it in Adelaide, South Australia, as part of a Study Abroad program. During the seven-week program at the University of Adelaide, Trabue, who is focusing

on the wine business concentration offered in the Wine and Viticulture Department, took two agribusiness classes, Sales Techniques and Transportation and Logistics, plus a general education geography course. Class days were shorter but faster paced in Adelaide because the students had only seven weeks to digest the information. “Every Thursday was dedicated to wine tastings and exploring the wine regions of McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills, where we learned about different varietals found in South Australia,” Trabue said. She lived with other foreign students at Urbanest, a studentliving accommodation in the heart of Adelaide. “It was similar to Poly Canyon Village, with six people assigned to an apartment, each with their own room,” she said. “The apartment also had a common room, small kitchen, and a balcony with a barbecue.” Trabue, whose hometown is Washington, D.C., learned some valuable life lessons outside the classroom. “I chose to live with students from other countries, and I

think it was one of my greatest decisions,” she said. “I made friends from Canada, Denmark, England and more. I now have friends in new areas, and this gives me the opportunity to try even more adventures in the future.” She urges students interested in studying abroad to apply. “Don’t be afraid,” she said. “Financial aid and scholarships are available.” Her experience in Australia was more than she had hoped for. “I had so much fun exploring Adelaide, seeing all the wine regions, and just shopping, eating, and going to concerts in the Justin Trabue learned about the wines in Australia’s Adelaide region in a class at the Adelaide National Wine Centre — one of the Study Abroad program’s weekly tastings.

park,” she said. “The public transportation in Adelaide rocked! I explored the city by bus, tram and on foot. I missed my friends, but nothing held me back from immersing myself in Adelaide.”

A Taste of

Trabue and her classmates visited picturesque Kangaroo Island (top, left) and enjoyed snorkeling at Second Valley Beach (top, right). The group toured wineries in and around the Adelaide area, such as the Chapel Hill Winery (above, center). On her visit, Trabue said, “I found myself a kangaroo, and naturally, I fed him!� (right).




The project also received a major boost from Jim and Michelle Marderosian and Professor Emeritus Paul Fountain. (See related article, pages 4-5.) The Marderosians kick-started vineyard fundraising efforts with a generous donation of $30,000. Fountain also recognized the vineyard’s urgent need and

EAN DODSON PETERSON, assistant professor

graciously donated $250,000 to fund the replanting and rebuilding

of viticulture, is leading efforts to redevelop

of the six-acre teaching blocks that will “enhance the wine and

and expand Cal Poly’s Trestle Vineyard, which

viticulture curriculum, increase Learn by Doing opportunities

had become infected with Red Blotch disease, a

for students, and better prepare graduates to serve the wine

condition that delays ripening and negatively

industry,” Dodson Peterson said.

affects fruit quality.

“When I arrived at Cal Poly in fall 2014, the entire vineyard

was in decline and needed to be removed,” Dodson Peterson said. “This gave us the opportunity to redesign the vineyard to include

Dodson Peterson has lofty plans for the teaching block that will take hands-on learning to new levels and give students an all-encompassing grape-growing experience. “We expect to begin replanting in spring 2017,” she said.

more specialized teaching facilities and improve the Cal Poly

“Eventually we will have a winegrape, table grape and rootstock

wine brand production blocks.”

ampelography block, as well as student research and rotational

Before replanting begins, all efforts are focused on removing as many of the infected roots as possible from the soil profile. Pacific Vineyard Co. is helping to facilitate the extensive project.

blocks. In all, students will be exposed to more than 100 different varieties in the ampelography blocks. “The student research block is especially valuable in that it will be randomized on six rootstocks of varying parentage to allow students to conduct publishable research on rootstock-scion interactions,” Dodson Peterson continued. Another interesting addition is the rotational block. “The rotational block will demonstrate training and trellising over a five-year period,” Dodson Peterson explained. “Each year, the five-year-old rows will be removed and replanted so that students learn on a small scale the techniques of vineyard establishment for years one through five. They will be responsible for pounding the posts, installing irrigation lines and trellis wires, and planting from scratch.” This block will be primarily used in the Winegrape Management course. “It is important to note that all of the fruit from the teaching vineyard will go to the enology courses and senior


Opposite: The Trestle Vineyard before vine removal PHOTO BY BRITTANY APP


Trestle Vineyard projects,” Dodson Peterson said. “Students will get to use the


commercial vineyard for class purposes as well. But the fruit

The Wine and Viticulture Department continues fundraising efforts to replant the six acres of the vineyard commercial production blocks for the Cal Poly wine brand. For ways to support the effort, contact Grant Kirkpatrick, senior director of development, at 805-756-2173 or

from these ‘commercial’ blocks is designated for the Cal Poly commercial label.” She is working with Foundation Plant Services (FPS) to obtain Protocol 2010 plant material for all of the new plantings. “FPS distributes virus-tested, professionally identified grape propagation stock,” she explained. “Grapevine disease testing Protocol 2010 is currently the most rigorously tested material available.” Dodson Peterson said she is looking forward to teaching the next generation of wine and viticulture students in the newly developed 12.7-acre site and is thankful for the incredible support of Paul Fountain, Jim and Michelle Marderosian, and the local industry.



The Wine and Viticulture Department’s third graduating class ­— 56 strong — celebrated its achievement at commencement exercises in June. PHOTO BY ULTIMATE EXPOSURES

2015-16 Scholarship Recipients NINETEEN WINE AND VITICULTURE students were awarded scholarships for the 2015-16 academic year by the Wine and Viticulture Department and the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. Department Head Benoit Lecat congratulated the students (listed alphabetically) and praised the individuals and organizations that made the scholarships possible.

Melissa Egger – Orange County Wine Society Scholarship

Emily Perman – Orange County Wine Society Scholarship

Courtney Gillespie – Murphy Foundation Earn by Doing Award

Madeline Rausch – Murphy Foundation - Presqu’ile Scholarship

Valentine Hoffman – Arthur E. Norman Scholarship

Jordan Robinson – John S. Maher Scholarship

Timothy Holst – Orange County Wine Society Scholarship

Lauren Smith – Joe and Florence Silva Memorial Scholarship

Lindsey Holub – Orange County Wine Society Scholarship

Kenny Strauss – Garagiste Scholarship

Lauren Kelly – Will Rogers Memorial Scholarship

Keana Viss – Orange County Wine Society Scholarship

Philip LaMontagne – Garagiste Scholarship

Hannah Weinberg – CHS University Scholarship

Hayley McIntyre – Crop Production Services Scholarship in Honor of Gordon Miller

Madison White – Will Rogers Memorial Scholarship

Jay Nickodemus – Ranchers Cotton Oil/Earl J. Cecil Scholarship

Vivian Zhou – Woodward/Graff Wine Foundation Scholarship

Anthony Pena – Janet and Tony Marino Scholarship


Patricia Williams – American Vineyard Viticulture Scholarship


PHILLIP DOUB, 74 AGRIBUSINESS PROFESSOR EMERITUS Phillip Doub, a driving force in the creation of the Wine and Viticulture Department, passed away Nov. 12, 2015. During Doub’s 24 years at Cal Poly, he earned virtually every teaching award Federico Casassa

John Crandall

offered at the department, college and university level, including the highest


teaching honor — the Distinguished


and the late Professor Keith Patterson

Teacher Award in 2000-01. Doub, Professor William Amspacher, are considered “the founding fathers”



Enology Assistant Professor Luis Federico

John Crandall is in his second year of

alumnus, also served as associate dean for

Casassa came all the way from Argentina

managing Cal Poly’s pilot winery and

undergraduate instruction in the College

to Cal Poly last fall. Previously he taught

teaching the Fermentation Lab and the

of Agriculture, Food and Environmental

at Cuyo National University in San Rafael,

three-course winemaking series for

Sciences. He retired in 2009.

Argentina, and served as principal investi-

enology students.

of the department. Doub, a Cal Poly

He is credited for motivating

His “love of wine and the desire to

hundreds of students at Cal Poly,

Center at the National Institute of Agro-

create something by hand” steered him

throughout the state and beyond.

nomic Technology in Mendoza, Argentina.

to the industry. His vast experience at

gator and winemaker at the Wine Research

Anyone interested in carrying on

Babcock Vineyards, Ballard Canyon

Doub’s legacy can donate to the Phil Doub

Winery, Cambria Winery, and Meridian

Learn by Doing Endowment, established

Vineyards makes him a natural fit at the

by the Agribusiness Department to

moving hoses, hauling grape lugs, setting

pilot winery, equipped with “just the

support student projects in wine and

up filters, filling and moving barrels — as

basics — a crusher/de-stemmer, press,

viticulture. For information on donating,

well as to the environmental smells —

pumps, about 14 barrels, various small

contact Grant Kirkpatrick, senior director

yeasts, wine lees, fermenting musts, barrels,

tanks and a bottling line.”

of development, at

Casassa got hooked on winemaking at age 17 while working as a “cellar rat.” “I was drawn to the physical work —

oak additives, corks and molds,” he said. He teaches Sensory Evaluation of Wine, Winemaking I and II, and Senior

Crandall teaches the winemaking courses in consecutive quarters. “In fall, we harvest and ferment our

Project. Learn by Doing is a given in

grapes,” he explained. “In winter, we

Casassa’s winemaking classes. “Students

maintain, stabilize, and run blending

are first exposed — on paper — to the

and other trials to improve the wine. In

theory of the most current winemaking

spring, we bottle.”

trends; then they apply those practices in the pilot winery, under the direction of John Crandall.” Casassa earned a bachelor’s degree

Though small, the pilot winery is “I try to let the students make as many winemaking choices as possible. This year, six different groups of students made six

degree in viticulture and enology from

different lots of merlot, and each one has

Cuyo National University, Mendoza,

turned out a bit different.”

from Washington State University.

Professor Emeritus Phillip Doub

designed for Learn by Doing.

in agronomic engineering and a master’s

Argentina, and a doctorate in food science

or 805-756-2173.

Crandall holds a bachelor’s degree in fermentation science from UC Davis.




pretty much defines the chemical — and

Viticulture Department’s new assistant

sensory — features of the finished product.

professor of enology, spends most of his

The way maceration is managed critically

time, energy and resources on teaching,

affects wine chemistry, sensory properties,

but, he said, “That is not an excuse to

and style. You can play with variables,

disregard research. I try to devote myself

such as temperature, time, percentage

to research-related activities during

of solids, mixing techniques and co-

academic breaks.”

fermentation of different varieties.”

His enology research focuses on the

On the viticulture side, he has looked

effect of different maceration techniques

into the effects of irrigation techniques

applied to red wines.

on grape and wine quality. He is also

“Maceration is this short period of

interested in understanding how

time, typically between eight to 50 days,

berry size affects wine chemistry and

in which the fermentation solids — skins,

sensory features.

seeds and occasionally stems — are kept

“Myriad viticultural factors can affect

in contact with the fermenting wine,” he

berry size and the subsequent chemistry

explained. “This period is crucial and

and sensory characteristics of the resulting wines,” Casassa said. He has submitted a grant proposal

Students benefit from Federico Casassa’s research of maceration techniques in WVIT 442: Sensory Analysis (below).


that would look at how intrinsic variations in berry size in pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon grapes can affect wine quality.


wines to Cuba. The new U.S. interim chargé

Obama’s historic visit to Cuba in March,

d’affaires, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, attended the

wine and viticulture Professor Marianne

grand tasting and invited the delegates to

McGarry Wolf and a group of winemakers,

visit him at his Ambassador’s Residence.

producers and distributors also made his-

The Californians mingled with the

tory when they attended the first California

Cuban people and experienced their

Wine Symposium in Havana.

culture via tours of Old Havana, a cigar

Wolf and about 100 other California

factory, and Havana’s Revolution Square.

wine industry professionals visited Cuba

“The Cubans were extremely warm

Jan. 31-Feb. 4 to attend the symposium,

and welcoming,” Wolf said. “We ate our

designed to pave the way for exporting

meals in paladars — family homes that

California wines to the island nation.

are family-run restaurants and potential

Thanks to warming relations between the

buyers of California wine.”

two countries, Cuba is expected to become

Wolf was happy to see so many

a new export market for California wines.

alumni at the event, illustrating Cal Poly’s

A highlight of the symposium was a

influence on international trade and the

grand tasting at Havana’s historic Hotel

wine industry. “Our alumni are leaders

Palco Convention Center, where Wolf

who are changing and advancing the wine

poured Cal Poly wine.

industry globally,” she said.

“Many Cubans praised the Cal Poly

The alumni included Joan Kautz

chardonnay and pinot noir,” Wolf said.

(Agribusiness, ’93) from the Kautz Family

“They were among their favorites and

Vineyards, Jennifer Lamb (Nutritional

returned to our table for additional tastes and to introduce their colleagues to our wines. They also were excited to hear

Professor Marianne McGarry Wolf at the symposium (above) and with other attendees at the Cuban Ambassador’s Residence (top).

about our hands-on learning.”

Science, ’98) from Herb Lamb Vineyards, and Dante Pozzan (Wine and Viticulture, ’09) from Pozzan Wines. Parents Stewart and Christiane Spoto, whose daughter,

Cal Poly was the only university

quite emotional to learn that our flag had

Arianna, is a recent Cal Poly graduate,

represented at the event, which was not

not flown in Cuba since 1961. The flag that

poured Spoto Wines. Steve Burns (Animal

just an educational and marketing event,

was flying that day had been stored in the

Science) of O’Donnell Lane, helped organize

but also a poignant reminder of times past.

hotel’s basement for 55 years.”

the trip, and Linda Reiff (Journalism, ’85)

“Cuban government officials briefed

Symposium attendees learned about

us in the Hotel Palco, where an American

trade policies and procedures and how to

flag was being flown,” Wolf said. “It was

navigate the complex process of exporting

represented Napa Valley vintners. Plans are underway for other events that promote California wine in Cuba.




across the vine, regardless of position

fessor of viticulture, has established research

along the cordon,” Dodson Peterson said.

that spans departments and universities. She and cooperators at UC Davis are

Viticulture graduate student Brooke

“We completed our baseline trial last year,” Dodson Peterson said. “Now we are seeking $40,000 from ARI to fund a

Robertson and viticulture undergraduate

full-scale project in Edna Valley. If we are

looking to determine the role bud number

student Courtney Gillespie have worked

successful, we have a commitment for a

and pruning technique have in minimiz-

on the project since its inception.

75 percent matching grant from private

ing the developmental variation down

“Brooke is not your typical college


the length of the cordon. This project is

student,” Dodson Peterson said. “She

running at the UC Davis Oakville Research

is returning to academia after working

graduate student, is also working on the

Station and is funded by a $40,000 Agricul-

in Napa and at her family’s winery and

project along with two undergraduates.

ture Research Institute (ARI) grant.

vineyard outside Walla Walla, Wash.”

“The results will be used to make

Steven Mais, a first-year viticulture

“Integrating undergraduates into

Dodson Peterson is also conducting

research projects with graduate students

pruning and vine training recommenda-

research with Katharine Watts, assistant

has been a fantastic experience. Cal Poly

tions to encourage balanced productivity

professor in Cal Poly’s Chemistry and

is a Learn by Doing institution, and we

Biochemistry Department. The two are

strive to achieve that goal with every

looking at soil microbial communities in

opportunity,” Dodson Peterson said.

Students taking WVIT 332: Advanced Viticulture tackle a pruning exercise in the campus demonstration block.

vineyards to see how they impact vine development and wine quality.


The Planning Continues CENTER FOR WINE AND VITICULTURE’S PROGRAMMING DETAILS EMERGE OVER THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS, considerable effort has been focused on developing the Cal Poly Center for Wine and Viticulture. The facility’s programming — the planning of labs and meeting, research, teaching, and hands-on

TO JOIN THE EFFORT in taking the next big step for the Center for Wine and Viticulture, contact Grant Kirkpatrick, senior director of development, at 805-756-2173 or

Renderings illustrate a tentative design of the Cal Poly Center for Wine and Viticulture, a 40,000-square-foot commercial-grade, bonded winery and learning facility. The department hopes to break ground on the project within three years.

learning spaces — has been completed with input from faculty, staff, students and industry experts. Significant interest and support continue to fuel this next big step for the Wine and Viticulture Department and the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. Groundbreaking will take place within three years. The center will feature a nearly 40,000-square-foot commercial-grade, bonded winery and learning facility that will provide students a holistic understanding of the entire wine

and viticulture industries — from

hands-on learning for which Cal Poly is

the vineyard to wine marketing and

known,” said Andrew Thulin, dean of

distribution. It will include crush,

the college. “With the visionary support

fermentation, bottling and barrel rooms,

of generous individuals, families and

plus teaching and meeting facilities.

industry, we will soon have a world-class

Sensory, enology and viticulture teaching labs and commercial and catering kitchens and university and public meeting spaces are also planned. “The Cal Poly Center for Wine and Viticulture will be a model for the

facility for teaching the next generation of wine professionals.” The center will complement the university’s newly redeveloped 14-acre teaching and commercial vineyard. (See related article, pages 12-13.)


California Polytechnic State University College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences San Luis Obispo, California 93407-0861


Preparing the finished product for consumers is joyous work for wine and viticulture majors Kenny Strauss and Cami Straw. Both students graduated from the program in 2015. PHOTO BY BRITTANY APP

Vines to Wines Summer 2016