Cal Poly supporters, faculty members and students celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony for the university's new multimillion-dollar Center for Wine and Viticulture on campus Friday evening.
The center will include both a 15,600-square-foot winery and a 12,000-square-foot grange hall, and is expected to be completed in fall 2019, according to a school news release.
More than $14 million has been raised to fund the project, including "significant private funding" that the university says will enhance the wine and viticulture program for years to come.
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Cal Poly's wine and viticulture program — the largest of its kind in the country — focuses on the three major elements of the wine industry: viticulture, enology and wine business.
"The distinctive opportunity to establish the wine and viticulture program as the preeminent one in the world compelled me to join Cal Poly from Burgundy, France," Wine and Viticulture Department Head Benoit Lecat said in a statement. "The development of the Center for Wine and Viticulture will make this vision a reality."
The program currently has a 14-acre teaching and production vineyard and a small plot winery where students gain hands-on experience.
The Center for Wine and Viticulture 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 release said.
Cal Poly's College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is the fifth-largest college of agriculture in the country with 4,000 undergraduate students.