Growing a Sustainable Vineyard
April 5, 2012
By Stephanie Thara
Through its sustainable vineyards and programs dedicated to wine production, the California State University is helping the nation maintain its title as America’s top wine producer. Winegrowing at Fresno State, Sonoma State, Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo helps contribute to California’s $18.5 billion retail value in wine sales in the United States.
In addition to engaging over 200 students in all aspects of the winemaking profession each year, Fresno State conducts solution-driven research for the grape and wine industry, disseminates vital information about the wine industry to the community and maintains sustainable practices within its winery.
The Fresno State Winery—the first university in the United States to have a winery fully licensed to produce, bottle and sell wine—composts the entire farm, preventing discarded items from going into the landfills. All waste, such as inadequate grapes, goes to the compost to be turned into fertilizer.
Between the Wine Business Institute and the Wine Intensive MBA Program at Sonoma State University, current and future wine professionals learn how to effectively face business challenges in the wine industry. Courses such as “Leading a Sustainable Wine Enterprise” help professionals learn to incorporate sustainable practices in wine production, sales and marketing.
Cal Poly Pomona’s Collins College partnered with the College of Agriculture to produce the award-winning Horsehill Vineyards wine. Wine proceeds support the culinary garden, which teaches students the sustainability benefits of farm-to-table practices. Vineyards are located on the slope southeast of the restaurant as well as AGRIScapes near the Farm Store at Kellogg Ranch. In an effort to utilize natural pest control, owl boxes are located on the edge of the garden and vineyards.