Young people wanting a career in winemaking have one of the best opportunities- right here in their backyard. The Fresno State Viticulture and Enology program is respected nationwide; and the fact the university has a full fledge winery on campus has earned it national prominence.
For students in the Viticulture and Enology program at Fresno State seeing the wine in this glass and bottles are the culmination of a lot of hard work.
“You get to go out into the vineyard, you know from the time pruning to harvest so you get to see the grapes mature through that and then harvest through the whole winemaking process its really dirt to bottle here,” says Fresno State student Kim Cain.
Students like Kim Cain know they are getting a unique opportunity at Fresno State, a one of a kind program that is also one of the best in the country.
“One of the things that we do that a lot of schools that teach Winemaking, Enology and Viticulture don’t do, is we give them the compressive picture, so they take the science of winemaking and grape growing from the classroom to the vineyard and the winery,” said winemaker Tom Montgomery.
Fresno State has a 120 acre campus vineyard…students grow the grapes and take care of the vines, everything is hands on.
“You can learn what you learn in class but the same time you actually get out here and you’re applying those things that you learn it’s completely different,” mentioned student Alex Romero.
They take the science of winemaking they learn in the classroom and put it to work in what is the nation’s largest on-campus winery…crushing and pressing the grapes through the ferminting and aging process.
“This is a 10-thousand case operation, these students crushed 160 tons this year…everything from Napa Valley Cabernet to Russian River Pinot Noir in Sanoma, Zinfandel from Amador County and the Foothills.”
Students are exposed to grapes from all over California…but the focus is on the local industry. They are in the process of blending their 2017 Syrah from grapes grown at the Fresno State vineyard.
“After they bottle it the process continues from there they market and sell the wine so they take pride in the wine that they are making.”
The 2017 Syrah is one of the first wines produced under winemaker Tom Montgromery. A Fresno State graduate who spent his career making wine in Napa and Sonoma. He is now teaching these students.
“It’s pretty cool. What I want to do and what the guys I work with want to do is create a really good wine.”
The wine produced here as well as the reputation of the program are globally known and students are the beneficiary of that honor.
“I’ve traveled all over and as soon as you say Fresno State anyone in the industry is like oh, ok are you graduating soon, you need a job and it’s really cool to be able to just be a part of it.”