• By Allen Dale "Ole" Olson   |   Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 8:41 am   |     |   Print   |   Permalink

It seems I spent my university time enrolled in the wrong departments. I managed degrees in administration, physical education, and general management. If only I had gone to Cal Poly.

Of course at the time I was trying to earn passing marks, the new Cal Poly Wine and Viticultural Program didn’t exist. As far as I know, such programs didn’t exist anywhere else in the 1940s either. So my chances of studying about wine in college were nil. No more. Not only has Cal Poly had such a program for quite a while — since 1999, the program is now an actual university department within the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences.

I first got wind of this program a couple of years ago when visiting Chateaux Margaux and chatting with Marie Guillard about their hiring practices for harvesters. She explained that they interview every prospective harvester, many of whom are college students. She didn’t specify from where but indicated that more and more colleges were offering students opportunities to study about wine.

Some 250 Cal Poly students are in the wine program now with another 90 expected by the end of the year. Not all is sniffing and sipping, however. The program requires hands-on work in vineyards and wineries, classes in business, marketing, and basic law. Most also do internships at wineries.

Now that some universities recognize the value of wine knowledge and the importance of educating students about its use, we can only hope that state legislatures will also catch on to the reality that wine has become an acceptable part of our culture and life style and deserves realistic legislation.

 

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