The Fresno State Winery is the largest commercial winery on a university campus in the entire country.
Karley Curtis, a senior enology student at the school, is intimately aware of the processes and ingredients that make up the “graduate reserve” a blend made by the senior students.
“We had a little competition and then kind of combined a couple of blends,” Curtis says.
Most of the grapes in the wines are grown in the Central Valley, and Curtis believes the wines encompass all of the personalities of the area.
Curtis’ journey to enology started in health care.
“I started in a major of pre-med and then decided that wasn’t for me so I switched over to enology and now, I’m the head assistant in the winery here,” Curtis explains. “I love it, it’s so much fun, such a great education.”
But wine is more than just grapes. Some enologists are now using drones in the wine-making process.
“We send it above the vineyard,” said Kayla Vasquez, who is part of the Fresno State Winery. “From an aerial perspective, we collect images in order to map out water status and we do that to try to mitigate some of the resource management issues that we’re having with water.”
Dr. Luca Brillante, a viticulture faculty member, says combining drone technology with traditional equipment allows them to get a multi-tiered perspective on what is happening in the vineyards.
“All this in order to improve efficiency of management and help our students to be more efficient,” Brillante explains. “We need to improve efficiency of production and digital precision agriculture is a tool for that, and we train our students in that direction.”