Cal Poly’s Wine and Viticulture Department Reaches Strategic Milestone

More than $7 million raised to build the new Center for Wine and Viticulture

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.--()--The fundraising campaign for Cal Poly’s Center for Wine and Viticulture is near the halfway point, with more than $7 million committed to the project.

“The increased opportunities for students to work with winemakers and viticulturists while doing applied research on the Central Coast, and beyond, will be unparalleled.”

Fundraising efforts will help modernize Cal Poly’s Wine and Viticulture program by building a 27,300-square-foot Center for Wine and Viticulture that will include both a winery and a grange hall. The buildings will include crush, fermentation, barrel, sensory, bottling, enology and viticulture rooms, as well as teaching and research labs, a bonded winery, offices, and community and industry meeting spaces. The Center is anticipated to open in 2020.

The Center is the next big thing for Cal Poly’s Wine and Viticulture program—the largest of its kind in the U.S. The growth of the program is in response to the increased demand for wine industry professionals.

“The distinctive opportunity to establish the wine and viticulture program at Cal Poly as the preeminent one in the U.S. compelled me to join Cal Poly from Burgundy, France,” said Benoît Lecat, head of the department. “The development of the Center for Wine and Viticulture will make this vision a reality by providing the caliber of teaching and applied research labs students will experience in the real world.”

Lecat, who joined the department from the Burgundy School of Wine and Spirits Business in Dijon, France, is playing an integral role in raising the additional funds needed for the new Center for Wine and Viticulture. He is also working intimately to further develop the internationalization and extended education components of the program.

Two tenure-track assistant professors — Jean Dodson Peterson for viticulture and Federico Casassa for enology and wine sensory analysis — have also joined the team, and are driving the program forward. “It is my role, both as a faculty member and as curriculum chair, to guide the development of courses to adapt to an ever-changing agricultural environment and to ensure the scientific rigor that is necessary to create leaders in our industry is present in our courses,” said Dodson Peterson.

Casassa is intimately involved in overseeing the creation of the analytical and sensory labs, as well as the winery, that will be included in the Center for Wine and Viticulture. “The new facilities will offer instrumental tools for students to produce commercial, student-made and research wines at the same time,” said Casassa. “The increased opportunities for students to work with winemakers and viticulturists while doing applied research on the Central Coast, and beyond, will be unparalleled.”

Upcoming fundraising events planned to share the latest project developments and discuss opportunities for industry partnership with Cal Poly include:

  • May 16: Location pending, Lodi, California
  • May 17: Pine Ridge Vineyards, Napa, California
  • May 18: Seghesio Family Vineyards, Sonoma, California

Industry Contacts:

Members of the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture fundraising committee, comprised of key industry professionals, are available for comment.

Jerry Lohr, chair
John Franzia
Dennis Stroud
Pat Delong
Dana Merrill
Vicki Carroll
Paul Burkner
Steve Burns
Lawrence Lohr

Contacts

Cal Poly
Grant Kirkpatrick, senior director of development
805-458-6596
gkirkpat@calpoly.edu
wvit.calpoly.edu

Release Summary

The fundraising campaign for Cal Poly’s Center for Wine and Viticulture has reached a strategic milestone, with more than $7 million committed to the project.

Cal Poly