The program currently has 250 students and plans to add an additional 90 students this year. College officials say that is the largest incoming class in the program’s history.
“I am thrilled that Wine and Viticulture has been conferred department status,” said Jim Cooper, department head. “It is a reflection of the popularity of our program, our outstanding climate for producing high-end wines, and the fact that we are the only university to offer a comprehensive program covering enology, viticulture and wine business.”
All students in the department conduct hands-on work in vineyards and wineries, where they produce a number of wine varietals.
In addition, as part of the curriculum, students participate in paid internships at domestic and international wineries, such as J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Duckhorn Vineyards and France’s Chateau Margaux.
Cal Poly first offered Wine and Viticulture curriculum as a minor in 1999. It was then offered as a major in 2004. In 2011, it became a stand-alone program.